Family Spins Basketball Event to Celebrate Son’s Bar Mitzvah

Jeremy Lebovitz celebrates his bar mitzvah with a basketball show for Friendship Circle youngsters.

Entertainer Jack Ryan helps a participant perform stunts during the program.

Everyone got a turn spinning the basketball.

It has become a family tradition for Marc and Amy Lebovitz that when one of their children becomes a b’nai mitzvah, they celebrate with a special event at Friendship Circle. With their son Jeremy celebrating his coming of age this month, they hosted a basketball show complete with giveaways for the kids.

“Jeremy said to me earlier, you can see how happy everyone is, and it just makes your day,” Explains mom Amy. “Friendship Circle fosters a calm atmosphere, and even the shiest kids will participate and step out of their comfort zone and have fun.”

This year’s event was held in the gym at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, which has been hosting Sunday-morning Torah Circle while LifeTown is under construction.

The Lebovitz tradition began two years ago when their eldest son, Zachary, turned 13, and continued last year as their daughter Emily celebrated her bat mitzvah, and sponsored a musical concert and lunch at Torah Circle.

According to Amy Lebovitz, she and her husband try and to match their child’s passion with the theme of the event they sponsor. They went with a basketball theme this year since Jeremy is into sports. As they waited for the show to start, Friendship Circle kids got blow-up basketballs and party hats to keep them entertained.

Once the show began, acrobatic performer Jack Ryan captivated his audience as he balanced five basketballs, juggled multiple basketballs in the air and spun balls on his finger.

“I feel like this makes their life a little better and makes them happy,” says Jeremy. “It put a smile on their faces.”

Also impressed was Ryan himself, who walked through the bleachers helping any of the youngsters who wanted a shot at spinning a basketball. The kids were enthralled, attempting to spin the balls on their fingertips and clutching the postcards Ryan gave them as a prize for trying.

“It’s always my goal to make people laugh but, for me, when I get to spend time with children with special needs, and see them smile, it makes my day,” says Ryan. “That’s my fuel.”

As for the Lebovitzes, who attended the event with plenty of extended family in tow, they had so much fun that they are starting to think ahead to the next big day and corresponding event: youngest daughter Natalie’s bat mitzvah in two years.

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