Bar and Bat Mitzvah

  

The Service 

Our Bar and Bat Mitzvah services become meaningful, memorable events for every child and his or her family. We are proud to offer only one bar or bat mitzvah per weekend, allowing each child the privilege of leading the service and reciting Torah on his or her own. Each bar or bat mitzvah child fulfills three roles during the Shabbat morning service: the shaliach tzibur, or community member who leads the service; the ba'al koreh, who chants from the Torah; and the darshan, who provides his or her own commentary and interpretation of the Torah portion.

Family members participate by doing aliyot (Torah blessings), reading translations, and dressing and undressing the Torah. Non-Jewish family members and friends are welcome on the Bimah. The service includes a symbolic passing down of the Torah from grandparents — and sometimes great-grandparents — to parents to child, a stirring, moving moment.

Preparation

The Beth David clergy and professional staff spend the time it takes to teach, guide, and support every child in fulfilling the responsibilities of the morning in a way that makes everyone proud — including the child him- or herself. We make accommodations when necessary to be sure that this is true for all children, including children with disabilities.

The learning process begins early. Children become familiar with Hebrew beginning in Kindergarten and in third grade start to learn prayers. Older children who join Beth David without a Hebrew background will be helped to catch up to their peers. In sixth grade, children begin studying one-on-one with the Temple Educator, a Hebrew tutor, the Cantor, and finally the Rabbi. The beginning of Torah study is celebrated with the Mattan Parsha, a stimulating Friday night service when the family is invited up to the bimah and the child receives study materials for his or her own portion.

In addition to study, each child undertakes a charitable or social-action project of his or her choosing. Projects at Beth David have ranged from political activism in support of Darfur, to working with autistic children in a local theater group. Some children remain active with their selected group or cause long after their bar or bat mitzvah.

Family Support

Each family is paired with a b'nai (meaning bar or bat) mitzvah liaison who will explain the process and help the family with details related to the service. A Google group is available online where parents can get information and exchange ideas about all aspects of this momentous event. 

Resources

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Handbook/UNDER CONSTRUCTION.   Check back.

Mitzvah Project Resource List