B’nai Mitzvah

During their training towards becoming b’nai mitzvah, our students will apply the skills developed in religious school as they engage in the study of the reading and chanting of our ancient texts and prayers. Our goal is to empower our students with the ability to participate comfortably and proficiently in a Jewish worship setting while kindling within them a love of Jewish liturgy and tradition that will stay with them beyond the b’nai mitzvah year.

Our tutoring program begins approximately six (6) months prior to the student’s b’nai mitzvah service date. At the conclusion of the tutoring process, we expect that our students will be able to accomplish the following: 

  • Chant / recite the blessings for reading the Torah and haftarah (a reading thematically connected to the Torah portion, usually from one of the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible).
  • Chant / read a portion of the weekly Torah and haftarah readings. 
  • Summarize the ideas of the Torah and haftarah readings.
  • Recite the major Hebrew prayers from the service with fluency and accuracy.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the basic meanings of the prayers and blessings studied.

Understanding that all children are different, we adapt our course of study for b’nai mitzvah to meet the needs and ability levels of each individual student.

Additional responsibilities include:

Click here for the Temple Beth-El B’nai Mitzvah Handbook.

Take a closer look at our B’nai Mitzvah timeline.

Winter/Spring of 4th Grade Year

Winter/Spring of 4th Grade Year

  • In early spring, parents and students come together for a Havdalah program introducing them to the b’nai mitzvah process. Families who attend this program also receive a card soliciting information which will help Temple staff in assigning a bar and bat mitzvah date for their child(ren).
  • May – Dates will be given to parents. There will be a two week period in which families can request date changes.
  • June –List of b’nai mitzvah dates will be finalized. (Families must remit $400 to hold the date. This amount is applied toward the child’s tutoring and Kiddush fees.)
Spring of 5th Grade Year

Spring of 5th Grade Year

Families receive ushering assignments for the following year. B’nai mitzvah parents usher three times during the course of their child’s sixth grade year.

6th Grade

6th Grade

  • Students and at least one parent will attend three B’nai Mitzvah Family Partnerships, one on a Saturday and two on Sunday mornings.
  • Parents serve as ushers at Saturday morning services three times this year.
  • Beginning in January, students participate in a ten week cantillation class during religious school, learning the system of trope (musical notes) necessary for chanting from the Torah.
  • Students begin attending worship services toward the goal of attending 13 before they become bar/t mitzvah
  • Students begin work on a mitzvah project or projects.
8 Months Prior

8 months prior

B’nai Mitzvah fees paid in full

7 Months Prior

7 months prior

The family receives an email with tutoring information; the cantor will contact them to set up weekly appointments.

6 Months Prior

6 months prior

• Tutoring begins
• Parents meet with Temple staff to talk about Kiddush options

3-4 Months Prior

3-4 months prior

Families receive an email describing necessary clergy meetings and asking them to contact Joanne Gold, the clergy assistant, to set up these appointments.

2-3 Months Prior

2 to 3 months prior

• Finalize Kiddush plans
• Schedule time with Temple staff for photography at the synagogue
• Meet with rabbi to discuss D’var Torah (speech)

1 Month Prior

1 month prior: (or two weeks after the D’var Torah meeting)

A draft of the D’var Torah is sent to the Director of Lifelong Learning and Joanne Gold.

2 Weeks Prior

2 weeks prior

  • D’var Torah finalized and sent to the Director of Lifelong Learning and Joanne Gold.
  • Service honors list is completed and returned to Joanne Gold.
Week Of Service

Week of the service

  • Photos in the sanctuary
  • Service walk-through (the Wednesday before a Saturday service)
  • Child meets with Rabbi for 30-45 minutes.
Day of B'nai Mitzvah

Day of B’nai Mitzvah

  • One hour mini walk through for family and any other service participants
  • MAZAL TOV! Try to take it all in. This is going to be an amazing day

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