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B'nai Mitzvah


The goals of our b’nai mitzvah program are:


  • To empower students to experience the bar/bat mitzvah year as a Jewish rite of passage that is personally meaningful, shared among a group of peers and explored in the context of family and community.

  • To bring students into significant contact with Jewish ritual practices, social-action-based mitzvot, leading prayer and reading Torah. 

  • To deepen Jewish literacy in the areas of Torah, values, life cycle, history, and Israel.


Students of the b’nai mitzvah program spend the year leading up to their bar/bat mitzvah exploring Judaism through a variety of modalities, including:


PEER SPIRITUAL OUTINGS: Students participate in “outward-bound-style” trips with peers that combine recreation, Jewish spiritual content, and trust-building activities.


GROUP GATHERINGS: Students gather for monthly classes focused on Jewish ethics and customs, including hosting a Monday Night Community Dinner which provides a meal to those who are hungry.


FAMILY EDUCATION PROGRAMMING: Students and parents participate together in Jewish learning and social-action based projects in which the study of mitzvot is paired with volunteer service. 


HOLIDAY/SHABBAT SERVICE ATTENDANCE: Students in the b’nai mitzvah year attend two services per month on Shabbat and/or holidays.


TUTORING: Students meet regularly with a tutor beginning prior to the bar/bat mitzvah date in order to learn to CHANT TORAH (Haftarah optional), LEAD PARTS OF THE SERVICE, and do preliminary TORAH STUDY based on the student’s Torah portion, which will prepare him/her to write a D’var Torah (sermon). 


MEETINGS WITH RABBI: B’nai mitzvah students meet regularly with the rabbi in preparation for the bar/bat mitzvah.  These sessions are devoted to the following areas: 


  • INDEPENDENT JEWISH PRACTICE: Students research and decide upon a home-based Jewish practice to be done on weekly basis at home.  Students will keep a journal tracking their practice and writing about it.

  • MITZVAH PROJECT: Students seek out and decide upon a mitzvah project to be executed during the course of the year of their bar/bat mitzvah date.  The mitzvah project may be either a single ongoing volunteer activity (to be developed with the support of parents and the rabbi), or the completion of various weekly mitzvot.  Students keep a journal of their activities and reflections about their experiences.

  • D’VAR TORAH: Students will write a D’var Torah (sermon), drawn from the student’s Torah study, independent Jewish practice, and/or mitzvah activity, to be given as part of the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony.




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