Shmuel Aharon ben Gershon Aharon v’ Ariel
ואריאל אהרון גרשון בן אהרון שמואל
April 5, 2014 5 Nisan 5774
Haftarah: 2 Kings 7: 3-20
Temple Ramat Zion, Northridge, California
Bar Mitzvah (Hebrew: מצוה בר) is the term in Jewish law for an adult, it has come to mean
colloquially the Jewish coming of age rituals.
Bar ()בר is a Jewish Babylonian Aramaic word literally meaning son (ben ()בן in Hebrew), and
mitzvah ()מצוה is a commandment and a law. While this literally translates to "son of
commandment", the rabbinical phrase "bar" means "under the category of" or "subject to". "Bar
Mitzvah" therefore translates to "an [agent] who is subject to the law".
According to Jewish law, prior to reaching Bar Mitzvah, a boy’s parents hold responsibility for
his actions. When he turns 13 years old, he assumes responsibility for his own actions and
becomes a “Bar Mitzvah”. He now bears his own obligation for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and
ethics, and is able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life. He may be counted
towards a minyan (prayer quorum) and may lead prayer and other religious services in the
family and the community. He is now eligible to be called to read from the Torah, he must
follow the 613 laws of the Torah and must keep the halakha and may testify as a witness in a
Beth Din (Rabbinical court) case.
Bryce celebrated his first Bar Mitzvah minyan at his school, Abraham Joshua Heschel Day
School, on March 24, 2014.
Bar Mitzvah is mentioned in the Mishnah (Ethics of the fathers, 5:21), and in the Talmud. In
some classic sources, the age of thirteen appears for instance as the age from which males
must fast on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
The widespread practice is that on the first Sabbath of his thirteenth year, he is called up to
read from the weekly portion of the Torah (five books of Moses), either as one of the first seven
adults, or as the last, in which case he will read the closing verses, and the Haftarah (selections
from the books of the Prophets). Today Bryce will chant the Maftir from Parshat M’tzora, being
Leviticus 14:30-32. He will also chant the Haftarah, being 2 Kings 7: 3-20.
Bryce will also deliver a D'var Torah (a discussion of some Torah issue, such as a discussion of
that week's Torah portion) and lead part of the prayer services. Bryce has studied his Torah
portion and his D’var Torah is his own interpretation of the text.
In Orthodox and Conservative circles, the occasion is sometimes celebrated during a weekday
service that includes reading from the Torah, such as a Thursday morning service, where the
Bar Mitzvah will also lay tefillin for the first time. Tefillin, ()תפילין also called phylacteries from
Ancient Greek phylacterion, (meaning "to guard, protect") are a set of small black leather boxes
containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by
observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Bryce completed this mitzvah on Thursday,
April 3, 2014.
Today, Bryce assumes full responsibility as an adult male, and a full-fledged member of the
Jewish community with the responsibilities, beliefs and traditions of the Jewish people. It is a
day of deep solemnity, and a joyous celebration of life. We thank you for sharing this
celebration with us.
Presentation of Tallit
Grant Gochin and Russell Lyon
Ark opening / closing for the Torah Service
Sandra Gochin, Alfred and Marion Lyon and Valerie Smollan
Passing the Torah
Sandra Gochin, Valerie Smollan, Grant Gochin, Russell Lyon
and Bryce Gochin-Lyon
Torah Aliyot Torah Chanter
Kohen / Rishon (1st
Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:1-5
Temple Ramat Zion Congregant Rabbi Sela
Levy / Sheini (2nd
Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:6-9
John & David Arenson Lisa Lainer-Fagan
John Arenson – Yehuda ben Moshe v’ Rut
David Arenson - David ben Moshe v’ Rut
Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:10-12
Jordan Joffe Stuart Leviton
Yarden ben Shaul
Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:13-15
Terry Jordan Larry Kligman
Tsipa bat Tsvi v’ Shulamit
Chamishi (5th Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:16-20
Rabbi Denise Eger Jo Perez
Harav Davida Bat Benyamin v' Esther
Shishi (6th Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:21-25
Russell Lyon Cantor Ron Galperin
Ariel ben Avram v’ Sarah
Torah Blessing) Leviticus 14:-26-32
Grant Gochin Rabbi Zach Shapiro
Gershon Aharon ben Tsvi v’Shulamit
Maftir Aliyah Leviticus 14:30-32
Bryce Gochin-Lyon Bryce Gochin-Lyon
Shmuel Aharon ben Gershon Aharon v’ Ariel
Haftarah 2 Kings 7: 3-20
Shmuel Aharon ben Gershon Aharon v’ Ariel Bryce Gochin-Lyon
Hagbah and Galilah
Sean Joffe and Jordan Joffe
Nitzan Cohain, Shani Cohain, Jaelyn Ghoddousi, Ainsley Lyon
Prayers for Peace
Prayer for our Country
Marion and Al Lyon
Prayer for Israel (Hebrew)
Prayer for Israel (English)
“No Religion is an Island”
Patricia Supriana and Darius Udrys
Ark opening / closing for the returning of the Torah
Carmel & Kami Bina and Chic & Kristen Wolk
Presentation of gifts by Temple Ramat Zion Board Member
Charge by Jo Perez
Charge by Rabbi Denise Eger
Charge by Rabbi Ahud Sela
Ark opening / closing for the Aleinu
Jay Allen, Vance Allen, Harriet Anthony, Alyssa Lyon and Beth Lyon
Cantor Ron Galperin
“Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu”
Heschel Day School 7th Graders
Expressions of Appreciation
We are very fortunate that our family members and close friends could be with us here today.
Some have traveled a very far distance to be with us in Los Angeles for our simcha.
Cherished guests include:
Harriet Anthony (New York), David, Fiona & Jamie Arenson (Sacramento),
Egle Bendikaite (Lithuania), Sandra Gochin (South Africa), Dirk Haupt (Germany),
Sean, Kelly-Jane, and Jordan Joffe (South Africa), Alfred & Marion Lyon (New Jersey),
Beth Lyon (Florida), Ken, Brenda and Bronson Lyon (New Jersey),
Scott, Emily, Ainsley and Tavi Lyon (San Francisco),
Solly, Shari, Robert & Nina Michaan (Phoenix), Brian, Sharon & Aiden Misnuner (Atlanta),
Valerie Smollan (South Africa), Darius Udrys (Lithuania).
With special thanks to Congressman Brad Sherman for giving Bryce the American flag that flew
over the US Capitol Building on Bryce’s thirteenth birthday,
February 15, 2014.
Today as our hearts are filled with joy we stop to lovingly remember:
Dora Gochin Carmella “Millie” Rinaldi
Sam Gochin Rosario “Sal” Rinaldi
Alfred James Lyon Arthur Smollan
Elizabeth “Betty” Lyon Bertha Lee “Bee” Smollan
Today we take the opportunity to remember those of our family who were murdered and who do
not have the dignity of a grave or memorial.
Besser relatives Freyda Leya Gochin, husband and children
Garrenbloom relatives Tsipa Gochin, husband and children
Avram Israel Gochin Gochin relatives
Edel Gochin Novosedz relatives
The Six Million
Message from Grant (Daddy)
Thirteen Gifts on Your Bar Mitzvah
Bryce, thirteen gifts that come to you directly from your ancestors; each is a treasure, and each
has a story.
The first gift comes to you from your great-great-grandmother, Sire Elke Garrenbloom of Birzai,
Lithuania. This is the wedding band with which she married her husband Yankel Novosedz in
Raguva. They married in love, lived in love, and died in pogroms in the Ukraine. This gift
signifies the transience of life and of riches, and how the only true value that sustains, nurtures,
and continues, is love.
The second gift comes to you from your great-grandmother Bee. She was the daughter of Sire
Elke, and when her parents were killed in the Ukraine, Bee became an orphan. She and her
younger brother Morris were adopted by South African relatives, who took away their identity,
heritage, and language. They were made to speak English and told to forget their past. You,
Bryce, are named for your great-grandmother Bee, and on your papa’s side for your great-
grandmother Betty Lyon. My grandmother Bee had a gold chain that had belonged to her
grandmother, Sire Elke’s mother, Esther Garrenbloom, which she held and treasured her entire
life. This gave her, the few memories she retained of her original life. This gift to you represents
memory and continuity.
The third gift comes to you from another great-great-grandmother, Rachel Kommel, who was
born in great poverty in Kovno, Lithuania. She immigrated to South Africa, where she worked
her way up to the pinnacle of society. This brooch was given to her by her husband, Joseph
Smollan, and will pass to you and then to your first daughter, who will be the sixth generation to
own this family heirloom. This gift represents aspirations, that nothing is ever out of your reach;
all you have to do is work hard enough to achieve your dreams.
The fourth gift comes to you from your great-grandmother, born Dora Rummel in Janjelgava,
Latvia. This is her wedding ring. She so believed in the concepts of a Jewish Community that
during the Yom Kippur War, she took the diamond from her wedding ring and gave it to the
Israeli war cause. It was the last thing she had left to give. Many years later she replaced that
diamond, which is in the ring I give you today. This gift represents the knowledge that there is
always something more important than you; that there are ideals to uphold and values to
The fifth gift comes to you from your great-grandfather Arthur Smollan. Here is a book of
Shakespeare’s collected comedies that was given to him as a gift on his bar mitzvah on January
19, 1923. This gift represents the love of learning and knowledge. May learning and growth be
with you every day of your life.
The sixth gift is from your great-grandfather Sam Gochin, a man of dignity and principles unlike
any other. On the bimah today, you received the tallis he gave to me on my bar mitzvah. On
your bar mitzvah, I give it to you with the hope that you will give it to your son at his bar mitzvah.
This gift represents family, because the strongest unit that exists is family.
The seventh gift is your birthright—your citizenship in the United States. Never in the traceable
history of either side of our families have we lived in such peace, without oppression. With this
gift we give you the wish for continuity—the continuity of our family in strength. L’Dor V’Dor.
The eighth gift is a gift of heritage from the wisest people in history—our heritage in the Baltic
country of Lithuania. This Certificate of your Right of Retention of Lithuanian Citizenship shows
that you, Bryce Gochin-Lyon, are descended from, and will always be identified with, the Litvak
The ninth gift, your South African citizenship, represents history—from your great-grandparents
moving to South Africa, where two of your grandparents were born, where I was born, and
where you are entitled to live.
The tenth gift is Shabbat candlesticks. These belonged to your great-great-grandmother Sarah.
She was the one who adopted my grandmother Bee. She gave these to my grandmother, and
today I give them to you. These represent the traditions of the Jewish people; now these
traditions are your responsibility to uphold and carry forward.
The eleventh gift is a five-ruble gold coin from Russia. When your great-grandfather Sam left
Lithuania and moved to South Africa, he took with him three such coins with which to start a
new life. Instead, he relied on hard work and self-reliance, and at the end of his life he gave
those coins to me. I now give one to you. This gift is the recognition of what it takes to uplift
people, and that self-reliance, hard work, and ethical behavior are critically important in life. It
recognizes the need to perform tzedakah, because all people should be enabled to reach their
The twelfth gift is a vase. When Papa’s grandmother Betty was adopted and brought to
America, she was made to work. When your great-grandmother Bee was brought to South
Africa at a very young age, she was also made to work. One of the places where she worked
was the Carlton Hotel, which her family owned, in a town called East London. This is a vase
from that hotel. This gift is the recognition of the fact that most of the world is born into
deprivation. As per your Torah portion, from those who have much, much is expected.
The thirteenth gift is a gift that is indescribable. It is the gift you have given your papa and me:
the gift of love and family, and of the pure joy and pride you give us every single day of your life.
Our beloved son, of all the gifts in the world, you are the greatest we have ever had— our pride
and our joy, and all we can give you in return is our complete, unconditional love.
Message from Russell (Papa)
To my incredible son Bryce on your Bar Mitzvah,
Today you, Daddy and I stand together like the Three Musketeers preparing to conquer the
Our journey together began the day you were born on February 15, 2001, and along with the
day I met Daddy, this day was simply the best day of my life. We were a family, a Papa, a
Daddy and a beautiful son. I remember that life changing moment when Daddy and I watched
you being born and the nurse placing you on the scale to be measured and weighed, then
putting you under lights as the color came in to your body. I remember every single second of
that moment and that day. I remember thinking then, what I think now each morning when I
wake and each evening as I lay my head on my pillow, that I am the luckiest man in the world. I
thank G-d every day for blessing me with the honor to have you as my son.
I’m so very proud of you today as you stand before our entire family, our dearest friends, our
congregation and G-d. As you stand here making your Bar Mitzvah, you have Daddy and
myself on either side of you and we will always be by your side my son. You are just beginning
your journey as a Jewish young man and this is one of many amazing accomplishments you will
have in your life. My heart is full today as I watch you take this amazing step in your life. My
heart is full of nothing but love for you on this and every day.
You are such a special person in every way; Your gentle nature and how you are quick to
forgive, your sense of humor that keeps Daddy and me on laughing even after you've gone off
to bed, your loyalty to your friends, your creative and keen eye for drawing and building, your
willingness to explore new places and experience other customs as we travel the world, but the
thing that makes you the most special is your amazingly big heart that finds room in it for
You have worked so hard to get to this very place today. I’m so proud of you that I want to race
to the top of the highest mountain and scream out “this is my beautiful son with the big heart”.
You are truly a mensch in every sense of the word.
Bryce, as you continue to grow, my heart continues to spill over with pride and love. It’s because
of you that our family is complete, that we can take on the world together. Daddy and I will
always be there to support you, believe in you and love you. You just keep staying true to the
person you’ve become, keep that genuinely honest and non judgmental spirit that burns inside
of you and you will continue to go far in life and in love.
Thank you for being my son as I’m just the luckiest Papa in the world!
Bryce’s Mitzvah Project was to collect funds and used cell phones for “Cell Phones for Soldiers”.
Cell Phones for Soldiers Mission
Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing cost-
free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans.
Cell Phones for Soldiers Fast Facts
Since 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers...
Have provided more than 204 million minutes of free talk time
Mails approximately 7,500 calling cards each week
Recycled more than 11 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills
July 2012 launched Helping Heroes Home, to provide emergency funds for returning
veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and
Since July 2012, Helping Heroes Home has assisted more than 400 veterans and their
families with emergency funding.
Has remained a family-run, nonprofit organization operated almost exclusively by Bob,
Gail, Brittany, Robbie and Courtney Bergquist.
The Stray Cat Alliance
Bryce, together with his Aunt Terry, has also volunteered with: http://straycatalliance.org
Mission: Stray Cat Alliance educates and empowers the community to advocate for every cat’s
right to be safe, healthy and valued. We are building a no kill nation, one stray at a time.
Vision: Stray Cat Alliance envisions a time when all cats are cared for, all kittens and
domesticated cats are in loving homes and there is a healthy, but declining sterilized feral cat
population. The feral cat colonies that do remain are monitored, fed, and treated medically when
needed by their caregivers.
Stray Cat Alliance Values
Every cat’s life as worthy and deserving of human attention, compassion, dedication and
action on its behalf.
The sheer joy, the love and utter magic that cats bestow upon the human race.
All cats equally, whether in a forever home or free-roaming in need of human care and
The power of education and knowledge, combined with patience and determination, to
invoke understanding and positive change in outreach assistance to help cats.
Its decade of victories for the cats in the key areas of rescue, adoptions and uniquely, in
Its record of returning every single call or e-mail for support with cat issues.
Its reputation as the go-to source for stray cats.
The opportunity to advocate and positively influence perceptions about stray cats so
numbers of supporters increase, along with the scope of such important work.
The momentum of humane causes and how far they have come in this new millennium,
and are excited about the future.
Bryce has been a long time volunteer and participant in helping to feed those lesser privileged
than ourselves with the organization “Food Forward” - http://foodforward.org
Food Forward is a volunteer powered grassroots group of Angelenos who care about
reconnecting to our food system and making change around urban hunger. Food Forward
rescues fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste, connecting this abundance with
people in need, and inspiring others to do the same. We convene at properties we have been
invited to and harvest their excess fruits and vegetables, donating 100% to local food pantries
across southern California. Combined, our numerous distribution partners provide food to over
40,000 clients a month across Southern California. Since forming in 2009, we have harvested
hundreds of properties with 100% of what we pick going to feed the hungry.
Explanation of our Bar Mitzvah Emblem
At the core of the emblem is the Star of David. This signifies Bryce’s identity as a Jew: part of
the Jewish family and a member of the Jewish people.
The Star of David is surrounded by six national flags.
Italy. On Russell’s side of the family, his maternal Great Grandfathers’ were
Francesco Rinaldi, of Vizzini, Sicily, Italy, and Salvatore Scimecca, of Porto
Empedocle, Vigàta, Sicily, Italy. His maternal Great Grandmothers’ were Marianna
Cilmi of Vizzini, Italy, and Anna Cardella of Porto Empedocle, Vigàta, Sicily, Italy. It is probable
that the Scimecca family were descended from Converso Jews originating in the Iberian
Peninsula. Russell is an Italian citizen and holds an Italian Passport. Bryce hopes to hold Italian
citizenship one day.
Latvia. On Grant’s side of the family, his Paternal Grandmother, Dora Rummel was
from Janjelgava, Latvia. She was the daughter of Sholem Pinchas Rummel, and
Chane Gesa Besser.
Lithuania. On Grant’s side of the family, his paternal Grandfather, Samuel Gochin,
son of Avram Yisrael Gochin and Chaie Turk, was from Papile Lithuania. His Maternal
Grandmother, Bee Smollan, was born Brocha Leya Novosedz, daughter of Iankel Ber
Novosedz of Birzai, Lithuania, and Sire Elke Garrenbloom, of Raguva Lithuania. Grant and
Bryce are both entitled to Lithuanian citizenship and Lithuanian passports, but as of the date of
Bryce’s Bar Mitzvah, those have not been granted by the Lithuanian Government. Details of
Bryce’s Lithuanian heritage and citizenship are in the book: “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”,
written by Grant Arthur Gochin.
Scotland. On Russell’s side of the family, his paternal Grandfather was Alfred James
Lyon of Dalmuir, Scotland, and his Grandmother was Elizabeth Spence Wilson of
Glasgow, Scotland, daughter of Walter Wilson, and Cathleen Bayne.
South Africa. Grant was born in South Africa. Grant and Bryce are both citizens of
South Africa and hold South African Passports.
USA. Bryce was born in Providence Tarzana Hospital, in Tarzana, California. His
identity is that of a Jewish American man, with roots and traditions from around the
world. Grant, Russell and Bryce are all USA Citizens and hold USA Passports.
The flags and countries of heritage are brought together into one symbol, surrounded by Bryce’s
name in both Hebrew and English, along with the term L’Dor V’Dor – “from generation to
generation”. The intended lesson for Bryce is the history and the efforts that have brought him to
the place on the Bimah where he stands on his Bar Mitzvah day.