Pittsburgh Post Gazette – June 2017

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Originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on June 5, 2017.  Click here to read the original article.

When one of the city’s premier party planners celebrates her twin 13-year-old sons’ bar mitzvah, you know she’s going to pull out all the stops!

Shari Zatman of Perfectly Planned by Shari wanted Alex and Ryan’s special day to be one they would never forget. At the morning ceremony at Adat Shalom in Cheswick, both of her fraternal twins spoke beautiful Hebrew, reciting the Torah surrounded by family and loved ones. Then a lovely luncheon was served before the big bash. “I love watching other families enjoy special days and create memories, so to be able to bring that to life for my own children was thrilling,” said Ms. Zatman. Alex was grinning from ear to ear after the service. “It feels like a weight has been lifted off of me,” he said.

#MazelTov: More than 200 guests were greeted by the University of Pittsburgh marching band as they arrived at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District on May 27. They made their way through a tunnel of orange and blue balloons into sports central, a surprise created by their mother to celebrate the boys’ skills in basketball and hockey. As the adults enjoyed cocktails on the balcony overlooking the city, about 100 kids were led to the dance floor, which had been transformed into a basketball court complete with a jumbotron showcasing Ryan and Alex playing sports. The display took over one year to construct with help from companies Gray Phoenix and Festivities.

Glyde Productions, an entertainment company based in Washington D.C., kept the kids busy with karaoke, games and dancing as parents and friends mixed and mingled. The boys got another surprise when the Pitt Panther and cheerleaders made an unexpected appearance. “This is the bar mitzvah of the year!” one awestruck partygoer said. After dancing, Common Plea Catering satisfied hearty appetites with pierogies, sliders and grilled cheese with truffle fries. Signature cake-themed cocktails were topped with homemade cotton candy and guests also enjoyed a T-shirt-making station, interactive games and a photo booth.

Tears flowed during a video of the boys and family members talking about this special moment. “I’m just so proud of them. They have worked so hard to get here, and it’s so special to share this with them,” said their father, Jason. The party ended on a delicious note with a candy station, waffles by Waffleonia and Mercurio’s custards. It was the sweetest night of 2017, indeed!

Mitzvah projects
The word mitzvah is often translated as a kind and ethical good deed performed within a religious duty. Both Ryan and Alex performed mitzvah projects as part of their preparation. Ryan visited with residents of the Charles Morris Nursing Home. “My favorite part was seeing them smile,” he said. Alex focused on the Friendship Circle, where he participated in social events with children who have special needs. Clearly, #ItsGoodToGive!