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How do I choose a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date?

1. Welcome to Bar/Bat Mitzvah
2. How Do I Choose A Date?
3. Preparing For The Service
4. Planning Your Reception
5. Resources

CHOOSING A DATE:

When your child is in the 4th grade, you will be invited to an orientation meeting, where this will all be explained in person.  Subsequently, you will receive an online form via e-mail in which you will be asked your preferences for date, time, and location. To best help you make your choices, you will be given a list of available dates along with holidays that populate the year. Please be sure to have that handy when filling out the form. Dates will be assigned in order based on a randomly generated lottery number, which will be assigned to all forms received by the due date. We feel confident that this is a fair and equitable system. We will try to accommodate everyone’s first choice. From time to time there are some conflicts and we will call you personally to work out these options in the spirit of Jewish values and ethics.

If you're unable to choose a date in 4th grade, please call our office and we will be happy to assist. There are always available dates in the calendar.

Typically, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony takes place on or shortly after the 13th birthday, so you may choose the Shabbat closest to that date. We request that no date is selected more than 30 days prior to the birthday.

The Jewish system of reading Torah is as follows: the Torah is divided into 54 portions. These portions are assigned in order (and sometimes combined) to make up the 52 weeks of the year. Everyone around the world will be reading the same portion of the Torah on the same Shabbat. Some families like to choose their date based on the Torah portion that the child will read. If you would like a particular portion, feel free to contact our Cantorial Staff, all of whom can tell you which portions fall close to your child’s birthday.

On occasion, families have a need for a non-Shabbat service option. If need be, we can discuss holding a service on the other traditional times the Torah is read: Monday, Thursday, or Rosh Chodesh (new moon).

In addition, Temple Judea does not double up on separate families sharing the Bimah for their ceremony. Each ceremony will have a Rabbi and a Cantor officiating!

A note about summer: If you typically travel or send your kids to camp all summer, please consider holding your ceremony either before the summer, or substantially after, so you allow your child the time to achieve their best potential.

MORNING OR AFTERNOON:

MORNING:
The long tradition of our people is to read Torah on Saturday Mornings, and our Shabbat morning service is joyful and full of music. There is substantial opportunity for a student to shine at this service, because there is more flexibility in the liturgical prayers, and there are more options for musical expression. 

AFTERNOON:
This service is more limited in liturgical choices, and therefore there is less music. The student still chants the same amount of Torah and Haftarah, as in the morning. 

Havdalah is included in the afternoon service between the holidays of Sukkot and Passover. During the summer months, the service concludes with the sun high in the sky; you may opt to hold a Havdalah ceremony at your evening reception during these months.

SERVICE START TIME:
Every morning service begins at 10:30am and typically concludes at 12N. Our afternoon service is held at 5pm and typically concludes at 6:30pm. We never alter service start times. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is not a private life cycle event, as the child is welcomed into the community. While the reception may of course be private, the service is open to the entire community, and therefore the times may not be altered. 

SERVICE LOCATION:
We hold all of our Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies at the temple’s sacred spaces, either in the Goor Sanctuary, which seats up to 500 or in our Chapel which comfortably seats 110. We do not perform ceremonies off-site.

CLERGY PARTICIPATION:
Six to nine months prior to your service, you will be notified of the participating clergy (of course barring unforeseen circumstances). We assign clergy based on availability. Currently, all our clergy teach the 6th grade Tuesday Night Religious School class, and our cantors teach the B’nei Mitzvah seminars (Wednesdays) as part of every child’s preparation. Our goal is that by the time your child has completed 6th grade, they will have the opportunity to study with every member of our clergy team.

FINANCIALS:

Temple Judea’s policy is that the family of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah be current members of the temple, with all financial obligations satisfied, during the entire preparation period and membership year in which the service takes place. 

A one-time Bar/Bat Mitzvah fee covers all expenses related to the service including individualized instruction, all preparatory materials, study and rehearsals with the clergy, piano accompanist, bima decor, the Friday night Oneg Shabbat, (and challah & juice or Havdalah as appropriate).

July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022 - $2400             

July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023 - $2400

You will be billed a portion of this fee in order to hold your date, and the remainder to be paid over time.  This fee must be paid in full a year before the date in order for the formal process of B’nei Mitzvah preparation to begin.

 

Cancellation Policy:

If a family cancels their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, there is a full refund as long as:

(a) No formal BBM training has begun, and
(b) It's at least 15 months in advance of the BBM date.  
For cancellations within 15 months, but before training has begun, we'll refund everything except $400. 

Cancellations within 15 months and after training has begun are decided on a case by case basis.