Literally speaking, every Jewish child automatically, upon reaching the age of thirteen, becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, one who is obligated to observe the commandments. A formal Bar Mitzvah ceremony celebrates this rite of passage for boys. The Bat Mitzvah ceremony was introduced early in the 1900’s, as women began to take their place in the ritual life of the synagogue. In any case, it is necessary to prepare for the event with a course of study that includes learning Hebrew, the language of the Torah.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is seen as the beginning of a new phase in the Jewish life of our young people. In order to prepare for accompanying responsibilities, a young person must:
- Demonstrate respect for Judaism, the Temple, the Rabbi, teachers and peers.
- Attend Shabbat services with his/her parents regularly. A minimum of 18 Shabbat services within the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is required, but weekly attendance is desirable. Attendance is taken, and the student is responsible for signing in. Attendance at services outside of the Temple will be credited up to four (4) services.
- Attend every school session including both Judaic Studies and Hebrew classes. Absences will be excused for compelling reasons only and serious attempts should be made to make up the absence from Hebrew class on the following Monday or Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 pm (exact time and days of week subject to change).
- Propose and, after receiving the Rabbi’s approval, carry out a Mitzvah project involving at least twenty hours of community service.
- Shabbatonim: Young people and their families must attend a minimum of three Family Shabbatonim. Shabbatonim are held on Saturdays or Sundays throughout the year. Typically they include a service (morning or Havdalah); an informational session with skits, workshops, lecture with question and answer period; and a very important opportunity for parents and young people to network, share information, share concerns. Our major objective: to create a bond among congregants and “to bring the hearts of the parents closer to their children and the hearts of the children closer to their parents.”
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring: At a certain point in the year before your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the Rabbi will ask you to start bringing him or her on Mondays or Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. You can sign up in advance if you will regularly bring your child on either Mondays or Wednesdays, and we ask you to let us know if you will not be attending any particular week. Or, you can let us know by noon on the day you are bringing your child that he or she will be attending.
We ask for your cooperation so that we will always have a teacher available for your child and so that our teachers will come only when there is a child with whom they will be working!
If you would like more information about our Religious School, please contact the temple office.