We are thrilled to announce the joyous marriage of Elana Wetzler and Daltin Loomis on August 13, 2022, at the historic Plum Street Temple. Rabbi Lewis Kamrass officiated the ceremony. The bride looked radiant in a stunning sequin ballgown, while the groom emanated a timeless charm in a bespoke midnight blue tuxedo. Enchanting floral arrangements decorated the chuppah with light pink and white peonies, roses, and gardenias, accented by blue delphinium and sea holly. Elana walked down the aisle to “Dodi Li” played on the Rockwern Organ by Dr. Michael Unger. Under the chuppah the ceremony was intimate and heartfelt, surrounded by the bridal party and the loving presence of the couple’s parents: Carolyn and Howard Wetzler, and Tracy and Brad Loomis.

Elana and Daltin Loomis

As they exited Plum Street Temple, Elana and Daltin were greeted by loved ones blowing bubbles, filling the air with whimsy and delight. They were whisked away to the reception in a horse-drawn carriage.

At the magnificent Cincinnati Music Hall, guests were serenaded by a string trio from the foyer balcony. The newlyweds shared their first dance, with choreographed twirls, lifts, and dips to the song “King” by Blue October. The celebratory atmosphere ignited as the guests joined in the traditional Hora dance, encircling Elana and Daltin with jubilant enthusiasm, raising them high in the air on chairs. The dance floor was filled with laughter, joy, and the celebration of a beautiful wedding.

Please join us in extending a heartfelt Mazel Tov and best wishes to Elana and Daltin Loomis as they embark on the journey of their lives together.

Marlene Ostrow became an adult bat mitzvah in Chicago on Monday July 17 at the Shacharit service of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism’s (WLCJ) Triennial conference along with 18 other women. Eleven WLCJ members from across the United States and Canada also participated in the service online. There were Jews by choice, those previously unaffiliated with a synagogue, and those who did not have the opportunity to become a bat mitzvah or read Torah at an earlier age.

Rabbi Ellen Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director of International WLCJ, giving charge to Marlene Ostrow and her bat mitzvah class

The Shacharit service began at 7:30 a.m. Chicago time. 300 WLCJ convention attendees and guests attended this special life-cycle service, including eight women from the Adath Israel Congregation in Cincinnati.

Growing up in West Orange, New Jersey, Marlene and her family were unaffiliated Jews. However, her family was culturally and ethically Jewish and believed strongly in working for social justice, fighting bigotry and antisemitism.

When she started at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, she felt a need to better and more fully understand her Jewish identity and heritage, so she joined Hillel and took a Judaism 101 course. In that way, she obtained informal knowledge from the former and educational details in the classroom. She felt more comfortable explaining Jewish holidays and traditions to her non-Jewish roommates, who often accompanied her to Hillel’s Passover Seders.

In her 20’s Ostrow decided that she was only interested in dating Jewish men. She knew she wanted to marry a Jewish man and raise Jewish children. While in N.Y.C., Ostrow dated a modern orthodox man who took her to shul weekly for Shabbat services at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue on the Upper East Side.  

“I was trying to find my place in the Jewish world,” said Ostrow. She studied Ulpan (modern conversational Hebrew) and even went to Israel by herself in 1983.

Ostrow’s husband grew up actively Conservative. That felt comfortable to her. “To me, the Conservative movement was conserving tradition, but also included egalitarianism. It was important for me, as a Jewish woman, to be able to have the option to fully participate in Jewish prayers on the Bima.”

Thirteen years ago, she witnessed a close congregational woman friend’s adult bat mitzvah ceremony and thought to herself, “I’d like to do that someday.”

To participate in the program at WLCJ to become a bat mitzvah, Marlene needed to be able to read the Alef/Bet. Classes began online in September 2020 at the height of Covid. 750 women took weekly Hebrew classes. Only thirty-something committed to the full, formal adult bat mitzvah training. She would need to take Davening classes (Hebrew ritual prayers) and study Torah trope. They offered monthly Zoom classes based on the Melton School Bat Mitzvah curriculum, taught by scholars and rabbis that were women of the Conservative movement.

The goal for the program was to help participants see how their bat mitzvah fit together “emotionally, spiritually, and ritually” for them. Rabbi Ellen Wolintz-Fields’ charge to the bat mitzvah class was about active lifelong learning, and making the choice to do what they couldn’t do a half-century ago. By practicing, chanting, studying, and seeking spiritual and intellectual growth, they could participate in Jewish life, education, and lead prayers in their community. Rabbi Wolintz-Fields was challenging them to step outside their comfort zone, learn from their sisters, and give back in their synagogues.

Marlene plans to go on to have her own, full bat mitzvah. L-Dor v Dor, her two grown children have inspired and motivated her.