Bat/Bar Mitzvah Process

IMG_0506Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is among the most important milestones in the life of a Jewish person. Upon turning 13, a young person is considered an adult in the eyes of Jewish law. S/he is considered responsible for his/her own actions and mitzvot, and with that comes great privileges as well.

Once Bar/Bat Mitzvah age, one counts in the minyan (the quorum of 10 Jewish adults needed for prayer), one can be called to the Torah, and one can serve as shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) in our adult services. Ethically, one is trusted to make one’s own decisions. Among the most important of the Mitzvot is learning Torah. From the day of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah forward, the responsibility to continue learning is transferred from the parent to the young person (although a little “zetz” from the parent is always in order).

Our youth education programs help upcoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah students feel intellectually and spiritually prepared for this milestone. In addition, midway through 5th grade, our rabbinical staff and our Mitzvah Director Jeff Schwarz begin to meet with students and families one-on-one to discuss their individual B’nai Mitzvah paths and preparations. Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates are also chosen during the 5th grade.

During their 6th grade year, upcoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah students engage in community mitzvah projects such as reading to children at a local library or collecting eyeglasses for elderly people. Our rabbis also hold a series of 6th Grade Family Classes on several Shabbat mornings throughout the 6th grade year. These orientation sessions help guide and support families in all aspects of preparing for their upcoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Six months ahead of the big day, students begin intensive preparations with Jeff Schwarz, our Mitzvah director. They also study their Torah portion and offer their own reflections with guidance of Rabbi Booth or Rabbi Graff. A number of 7th Grade Family events, including a Tefillin Brunch and Friday Night dinner, also occur throughout the year, allowing our B’nai Mitzvah families to share their experiences and enjoy the camaraderie of their close-knit 7th grade class community.

Please note that synagogue membership is required to begin the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation process. We welcome your family!

B’nai Mitzvah Orientation Dates, Spring 2016:

5th Grade:
-Saturday, Jan 9, 12:15pm: 5th Grade family B’nai Mitzvah Kickoff – Lunch & Program

6th Grade:
-Sunday, Feb 7, 10:15am: 6th Grade Family B’nai Mitzvah Orientation
-Saturday Morning, March 5: 6th Grade family B’nai Mitzvah Class #1
-Saturday Morning, March 12: 6th Grade Family B’nai Mitzvah Class #2
-Saturday Morning, March 19: 6th Grade Family B’nai Mitzvah Class #3
-Saturday Morning, March 26: 6th Grade Family B’nai Mitzvah Class #4
-Saturday, June 11, 8:00-10:30pm: Shavuot Late-NightTorah Extravaganza, with Culmination of our 6th Grade Family Class

7th Grade:
– Fall, Date & Location TBA:  B’nai Mitzvah Family Brunch  – Social Event (Private Home)
– Early December, Date TBA: Special Sunday Morning Minyan with Tefillin Brunch at KE

B’nai Mitzvah Materials:

Everyone is welcome in our egalitarian Jewish community