Twins Henry and Lily Block always have been close, but the pair forged a deeper bond after facing an important milestone together: their b’nai mitzvah. The 13-year-old siblings held their ceremony during the holiday of Sukkot at Anshe Emet Synagogue (3751 N. Broadway), where they jointly led the traditional service and read from the Torah and Haftorah in Hebrew. Both spoke at length about their Torah portion, relating it to their lives and to their “mitzvah” projects, or charitable causes they championed: Lily worked with Sit Stay Read, an organization that uses dogs to improve child literacy, and Henry helped lead bingo games in a nursing home. “Bar and bat mitzvahs are first and foremost religious ceremonies,” says their mother, Julie Nerenberg Block. “Therefore, to me and my family, the service was the most meaningful part.” But with the twins’ hard work came cause for celebration. After the ceremony, family and friends joined Henry and Lily at Maggiano’s (516 N. Clark), where furniture was swapped out for a dance floor. The kids partied to the sounds of DJ Chicken Wang, snacked on sweet treats from the candy table and cotton candy machine and called it a night comfortably — each of the 240 guests left with a pair of personalized sweats.
Story by Katerina Bizios | Photos by Lee Ross Photography