Ever since this crazy pandemic started, the words postponed and rescheduled have become part of everyone’s vocabulary – including Dylan Spiegel and his family.
His bar mitzvah was originally planned for August 29, but since health and safety was still of concern, the date was changed to November 7, even when COVID was still going strong. But he and his family were determined to make this momentous occasion happen no matter what.
As it turns out, the day could not have been more perfect. We all know Memphis weather can change by the minute and being outdoors in November can be iffy. But it was a mild, sunny day; exactly what was needed to enjoy the ceremony at Temple Israel. It was held in the covered, outdoor atrium by the fountain, which provided a beautiful backdrop for the service. The existing greenery added natural elements and flowers from the chapel were brought out to enhance the surroundings.
They were limited to 50 people including staff, but it worked out well. Most of their family and friends are local, so no one needed to travel; plus, the service was live-streamed and recorded for those who couldn’t attend. Dylan is a member of the TI Boy Scouts and the troop was all able to be there, too.
Rabbi Micah Greenstein co-led the service with Dylan, while Carly Abramson accompanied on guitar. Still following protocols, seats were set up in pods to allow for social distancing and clear plexiglass dividers were placed between Dylan and the Rabbi on the bimah for an extra precaution.
As an ode to the uniqueness of holding the ceremony during COVID, they provided personalized face masks for each guest. Designed by local vendor Brenda Curland of JIM Productions, the masks were a wine color printed with a Star of David, Dylan’s name and bar mitzvah date; this kept everyone safe – and stylish!
Paige Miller Photography captured it all with formal photos done beforehand, as well as pictures during the service. Dylan’s sister, Jillian, designed the programs, which made it even more special.
Since a luncheon was not an option, mom Melinda Lejman ordered prepackaged little boxes of treats from a place called Dylan’s Candy Bar – no, not her Dylan; it’s an actual shop with numerous locations in New York and Florida. Choices were either apple caramel popcorn or assorted chocolates from the Fall collection. “Everything was ready to go when guests arrived, so all I had to do was put them out on the table for the guests to take!” she said.
The day went off without a hitch.
“Dylan was very flexible with the situation,” said Melinda. “He went with the flow and was actually relieved because the studying went on way longer than normal since the original date was over two months before.”
How would they rate the experience? “I think it was actually a blessing. It was simple and there was no fussiness, because we didn’t have to worry about all the details involved with a party,” Melinda said.
That night, Dylan had one friend sleepover, after a magnificent experience at Flight Restaurant. The family had planned to go to Universal Studios and Disney World, but are waiting until it is safer to travel so they can truly enjoy the trip.
Needless to say, Dylan’s bar mitzvah was a success, even though it wasn’t exactly how they originally envisioned. When they began the planning process, no one could have imagined that we’d be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. But they persevered and adapted to the situation making the occasion one they will never forget.