Bat Mitzvah Celebrates With Friendship Circle Concert

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“Are you ready to party?”

With that one question and a lot of clapping, Friendship Circle transformed into a musical venue Sunday morning with a live band and plenty of songs and smiles.

Dubbed “Party with Emily,” the concert was the brainchild of Emily Lebovitz and her family. A Friendship Circle volunteer, Emily wanted to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah with the children of Friendship Circle. Because she loves music, Emily and her family thought a concert might be the most appropriate way to celebrate her big day.

Quiet and soft-spoken, Emily started off watching from the side as the “What’s Up Band,” including FC music therapist Bobby Doowah performed.

“Emily loves Friendship Circle and she loves the interaction with the kids, and she wanted to do something to give back,” said her mother, Amy Lebovitz, adding that Emily “had a smile that never left her face. It was really nice to see.”

And it was a smile that the entire Lebovitz family and all their guests were also wearing throughout the morning. The infectious joy of the children enjoying the singing and the dancing seemed to move everyone to smile.

“I had a great time seeing how happy it made everyone,” Emily said. “I knew they would connect to the music, but I didn’t know how excited they would be and how involved they would get. I am happily surprised.”

As the band played Jewish songs with a decidedly youthful beat, kids danced and bobbed their heads to music. Some even sang along when they knew the words, or were prompted by the band. Adding to the festivities were the neon color hats, gold-beaded necklaces and costume sunglasses the kids received as party favors.

Throughout the program, youngsters like 10-year-old Derek stood up and swayed to the beat. Others gave up their seats to be closer to the stage and the band, who, in true concert mode, obliged their audience with an encore performance.

“I liked the band singing,” said 8-year-old Arielle after the show was over. While Danielle said she wanted to see more concerts at Friendship Circle.

The experience didn’t just amaze the kids or the Lebovitz family some of the Friendship Circle volunteers were equally as touched.

“It’s such a beautiful way to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah,” said Sheila Appel, an adult volunteer whose children and grandchildren also volunteer at Friendship Circle. “It gives me chills just looking at the kids.”

As for the Lebovitz family, the day was truly one to be cherished.

“It exceeded whatever I thought it would be,” said Emily’s father, Marc. “The energy, the warmth, great singing; it was very special. The generosity of Friendship Circle is second to none, they make it so easy to connect.”


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