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  • Marni Aksut and Dana Abrams

Updated: 6 days ago



Bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies are meant to be celebrated with loved ones and we are not going to let a pandemic stop us. History is replete with the Jewish people overcoming obstacles to maintain our traditions and, in the wake of COVID-19, we must find new ways to bring people together. The Drive-In Bar Mitzvah was our solution to this dilemma.


I am excited to tell you about a physically distanced, drive-in movie style Bar-Mitzvah (aka Car-mitzvah) that we planned and produced last weekend. I want to scream from the rooftop about how amazing it was! It was emotional, intimate and memorable.


As the mitzvah mom, Jennifer Yashari said, "Everyone experienced some desperately needed SAFE joy". "SAFE joy"... that really speaks to me and I plan to create a lot more of it!



The car mitzvah was truly magical. We had 100 guests, 35 cars, and 21 staff. This car mitzvah took place on the top level of a two-story parking garage in El Segundo, CA. We made a cold grey parking lot feel intimate and luxurious with lighting, greenery walls, florals, balloons, and specialty linen.


We had a very large stage to allow for six feet between Asher's immediate family, Rabbi Dara Frimmer, Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen, and four families who took turns coming up for their aliyot. Next to the stage, we had two large LED screens that featured trivia about Asher and photos from the virtual photo booth prior to the start of the ceremony. Then the screens showed a live-feed video of the ceremony and an entertaining video montage that included interviews of special people in Asher's life.



As guests pulled into the parking lot, they were greeted with beautiful gourmet dinner boxes along with a miniature Prosecco bottle, water and a gift bag. Inside the gift bag we included: face masks, kippot, a program, sanitizing wipes and a personalized led glowing fan.


Guests were directed where to park by parking attendants and instructed to tune into a specific FM radio station. The immediate family drove around in a golf cart greeting guests from a distance while wearing their personalized masks. Guests ate meals in their cars and two roller skating dancers (wearing masks and face shields) skated around delivering beverages and candy packages to each car.



Because Los Angeles was experiencing record Covid-19 #'s, we asked all guests (with the exception of immediate family who had safely distanced individual tables in the front) to stay in their cars the entire time, unless they needed to use the restroom. To share their excitement, there were times during the ceremony that horns were honking, and flashing headlights made it look like a disco.


Our bar mitzvah boy, Asher, is a special kid. His voice was nothing short of angelic and it was kind of like attending a concert, but so much more meaningful.



Within the printed program, Asher's parents included a welcome letter that spoke to the power of resilience and how just like our Jewish ancestors have done countless times before us, during periods of hardship and pain, we must learn to mourn the loss of how we wish things could be and adjust and adapt to how things are. Asher's mom, Jennifer, has lots of experience with this after living with the life altering disease, HIBM for 14 years. She is a psychiatrist and writes beautifully about her experiences on her blog, www.livingwithhibm.com. She is hilarious, smart, and compassionate. I am so lucky that through the planning of Asher's bar mitzvah, we became good friends.


It felt SO good to get back to work! In addition to the wonderful benefit of getting away from my kids for the day (lock-down has been tough!), I got to enjoy the creative outlet of my job, the relationships I regularly build with my clients and vendors, and the pride I feel when guests gush over all of the details. Being told post-event that our bar mitzvah boy, Asher said that it was the best day of his life... that was priceless. :)



We are on a mission to create more SAFE joy, so if you or anyone you know wants to join us on this mission, contact us so that we can discuss creating a socially distant, emotionally intimate event for you.



Contact Us



Mitzvah Sisters is an event planning company based out of Los Angeles, CA.

We plan social and corporate events.


We would like to give credit to the incredible vendors who helped us make this event come to life! Check out the links below to see their incredible work.


Smoke and Mirrors

Schaeffer Catering

Rachael B Photography

Enchanted Garden

Video Services Unlimited

LA Roller Girls

John Alford Balloons

Westside Cart Rentals

Morgan Sage- Photo montage

Dazzling Donuts

Rabbi Dara Frimmer

Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen

Caesar Event Rentals

Joe Batutis Graphic Design


  • Marni Aksut and Dana Abrams

Updated: 6 days ago

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post since I joined Dana in the business 7 YEARS AGO!!! And just never really got around to it. Ha! Well, somehow now I’m feelin’ it. And somehow it isn’t about events.

Instead it is about connecting. In a way, I’ve always been about connecting. I am an event planner because I love bringing people together. I love to create memorable shared experiences and foster connections. Since the Big C came into our lives, and all large events have been indefinitely put on hold, I have found myself searching for new ways to connect. I have been loving my weekly zoom calls with friends and family and wanted a way to take that lifesaving connection to the next level.


So, for the foreseeable future, I am not going to be blogging about events, but instead ways to bring your connections and relationships to the next level over Zoom, Skype, Houseparty, Microsoft Teams or whatever video-conferencing app you have chosen as your lifeline. For simplicity, I will just refer to it as Zoom 😉

I present to you… The 5 Senses Quarantine Poem

Yup, I said Poem. Wait, don’t ditch me yet. Give me a chance and hear me out cause this is way cooler than you think it is going to be. Follow my instructions…


  1. Have everyone on your Zoom call grab a piece of paper and a pen.

  2. Have everyone write down their 5 senses:


Sight

Smell

Taste

Hearing

Touch


  1. These senses are “topics”. Each line of your poems will start with “My quarantine is…”

  2. Then write down a memory/thought having to do with the sense during your quarantine. It could be meaningful, funny, happy, sad. Just let it reflect yourself in this moment.

This should take about 10-15 minutes for everyone to complete. When you are all done writing, have everyone read their poem aloud. If you have more than 10 people on your call you may want to break into smaller groups to read them.


Here are two examples by Dana and I to help you get started.



The first is by Dana

-My quarantine is watching my sink fill with dishes, couch fill with laundry and carpet fill with toys.

-My quarantine is kids laughing, screaming, crying.

-My quarantine is the smell of mushroom quiche on Etti’s birthday reaching me upstairs. The first thing I had smelled in over a month.

-My quarantine is feeling the sunshine as my family picnics each afternoon in the backyard.

She is so busted! She skipped taste. I’ll let her slide. And you get the idea.

And this one is by me, Marni

-My quarantine is watching my son zoom past me on his scooter as I hold my breath, hoping he doesn’t fall.

-My quarantine is hearing the pain in my mama friends’ voices talk about how hard this is.

-My quarantine is smelling the sour scent of my sourdough starter.

-My quarantine is tasting Murat’s delicious homemade pizza and comforting Turkish stews.

-My quarantine is feeling soft wisps of hair feathering my lips as I cuddle in bed for nap-time with my baby.

I hope this gave you some inspiration to make your video-conferencing calls more interesting. What are you all waiting for? On your next call, up your zoom game and write some quarantine poetry.


Hot tip: If you enjoyed this exercise, this poem format can really be applied in so many different ways. A group I did a trip with in December to Israel, did it about our trip and they came out amazing! Or you can apply it to your childhood. Or you can do it in remembrance of a person.


To show you how it can be done about a vacation, here is mine about my Israel trip.



My Israel is seeing the kotel in the distance with a huge glowing moon over head.

My Israel is hearing the waves crash on the Tel Aviv shoreline.

My Israel is smelling the stink of that dirt caked camel.

My Israel is the taste of creamy hummus dripping from my falafel.

My Israel is feeling the love of my new friends surrounding me as we sing Od yavo shalom aleinu.


Love you all! Stay safe and be well.

Marni from the Mitzvah Sisters

We serve Los Angeles, CA and surrounding areas