B’nai Mitzvah Program
Bar and bat mitzvah is a most special experience, not only for you, but for all of us here at Congregation B’nai Yisrael who are privileged to share a rite of passage in the life of a family within our community.
Bar and bat mitzvah services at our temple are on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and as needed at 5:00 p.m. and are individualized within the framework of a regular Sabbath worship service. We mentor each child to his or her own abilities, beginning with prayer reading and Torah reading, and sometimes progressing to Haftarah reading, prayer chanting, Torah chanting and Haftarah chanting. We feel strongly that each child deserves his or her own experience and memories, therefore we only have one child per Shabbat service.
Our bar and bat mitzvah program is oriented towards two distinct goals:
- To help our young people become so fluent in their skill of Hebrew reading that they are able to retain these skills through adulthood.
- To ensure that our young people are confident and comfortable in conducting the service on their own. take away from the experience a sense of individual pride, a feeling of accomplishment, and a good perspective on this rite of passage.
We believe that the whole family shares in the honor and happiness of the day on which a child becomes a bar or bat mitzvah. We provide many opportunities for the extended family to participate in the service. We hold a symbolic ceremony passing the Torah from generation to generation, in which the Torah scroll passes from the hands of grandparent to parent to child. We provide opportunities for up to 12 individual family members or friends to ascend to the bema for an aliyah, to recite the blessings over the Torah. Additionally, up to 3 family members or friends can be chosen for reading the English translation of the Torah and Haftarah portions. Younger siblings are sometimes invited to dress the Torah and to hold the Torah during the Torah service. If there is more than one younger sibling, all may share this honor
During the bar or bat mitzvah service is when parents have the opportunity to address their child in front of the congregation. This is a very personal experience and has proven to be an extraordinary opportunity to discover and articulate the character of our children. We do not limit or regulate what is said to the children. This is a most special part of the ceremony, and one of which we are very proud.