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Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Becoming an Adult in the Jewish Community

One of the greatest possible honors in the synagogue is given to Jewish children at the age of 12 or 13 when they become a B’nai Mitzvah. It is important to note that one does not have a B’nai Mitzvah rather, one becomes a B’nai Mitzvah. Becoming a B’nai Mitzvah is the beginning of an important journey of ongoing learning that continues through Confirmation and into Jewish adulthood.
It is through the process of becoming a B’nai Mitzvah that students learn of their responsibility to God as expressed through ongoing Jewish study, worship within the synagogue, and the pursuit of justice.
These are the values that strengthen and sustain the Jewish community.

B’nai Mitzvah dates are assigned approximately 3 years in advance of a child turning 13. Qualifying to become a B’nai Mitzvah generally requires that:

1. The B’nai Mitzvah family be a member of Congregation Shalom for at least two years prior to their B’nai Mitzvah or transfer membership from another synagogue.

2. The B’nai Mitzvah student is enrolled in Religious School and Hebrew School at Congregation Shalom through their B’nai Mitzvah date or enrolled at MJDS and recently completed four years of Hebrew instruction (or its equivalent) as approved by the Director of Congregational Learning. 

3. The B’nai Mitzvah student attend at least three Friday evening or Saturday morning Shabbat services in the year prior to becoming a B’nai Mitzvah.

Approximately 12 months before the B’nai Mitzvah date, the student and their parents are invited to a group meeting called a Kallah. During this meeting the process of becoming a B’nai Mitzvah is reviewed.
Approximately nine months before the B’nai Mitzvah date, the student and family meet with the senior rabbi. During this meeting, the rabbi discusses the meaning of Jewish study.
The child’s Torah and Haftarah portion are assigned and reviewed. Other topics covered include participating in a Tikkun Olam project and attending Shabbat services prior to the child’s B’nai Mitzvah.

Tutorials begin about 9 months before the B’nai Mitzvah date. The cantor will contact each family to set up the weekly tutorial schedule. Tutorials continue up until the B’nai Mitzvah date. 

Two additional meetings are scheduled with the rabbi in the 2 months prior to the B’nai Mitzvah.
One meeting focuses on the child’s Torah portion and the aspects of the portion the child would like to address in their D’var Torah (speech). The student and rabbi meet a second time to explore the meaning of the Torah and Haftarah portion, especially as they relate to the student's life and beliefs.
The student receives feedback from the rabbi on the rough draft of their D’var Torah and helps the student prepare the final version.

In the two weeks before the B’nai Mitzvah, the child participates in 2 rehearsals in the Sanctuary. 

Congregation Shalom’s approach to preparing students for becoming a B’nai Mitzvah helps to ensure that this experience is positive and fulfilling. We encourage students to continue their Jewish education beyond becoming a B’nai Mitzvah.
To this end we offer students the opportunity to continue their Jewish learning through the Madrichim Fellowship program, through enrollment in 8th and 9th grade, and through confirmation which occurs after 10th grade. 

 

 

 

 

Sat, November 26 2022 2 Kislev 5783