Becoming B'nei Mitzvah: The Three Pillars of B'nei Mitzvah

The world stands upon three pillars: Torah, Avodah (Prayer), and G'milut Chasadim (Acts of Lovingkindness).
-Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Ancestors) 1:2

Temple Judea's comprehensive, supportive, and communal program embodies everything that the B’nei Mitzvah represents: a commitment to learning and teaching Torah, Avodah (worship through prayer), and G'milut Chassadim (Community service). Students will be need to meet Yesod foundational benchmarks in all three pillars. In addition, they will also need to level-up two more times to Gevurah (Strength) or Chochmah (Wisdom) - in a pillar(s) of their choice. Each student's journey is unique and flexible, and students may change their path -- either to add additional levels or pivot from one area of specialization to another.

About eighteen months before the ceremony, students and their families, in consultation with clergy, will choose a training path that reflects each student's interests, family expectations, and student achievement. This will guide them in fulfilling their B'nei Mitzvah requirements.** No matter your path, we look forward to guiding your family through this journey to a meaningful and rewarding B'nei Mitzvah. 

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 **Temple Judea's policy is that the family of the B'nei Mitzvah must be current members of Temple Judea, with all financial obligations satisfied, during the entire preparation period and membership year in which the service takes place. Students are also expected to be concurrently enrolled in Temple Judea's Religious school and/or Jewish day school from the 4th grade, including Judaic & Hebrew studies. If your have additional questions, are staring this process late, or think your family may need additional tutoring or accommodations, please reach out.

Explore the three pillars of our program:

Avodah - Prayer leadership, chanting texts & service attendance


Fostering prayer & Torah literacy, gaining comfort on the bimah, teaching students the skills to co-lead future services, gain a sense of matbeah (order of prayer), learn to pray as a Jew, empower them to lead others in Jewish prayer.


Your child will achieve the benchmarks of this pillar through Temple Judea's Beit Midrash class --  a unique educational opportunity for students who are one year away from their special day. Beit Midrash means “House of Study.” The Beit Midrash style allows students to learn both as a community and independently, proceeding at their own unique pace, while also experiencing the fundamental connection with peers, teen mentors, and teachers. This beautiful and uniquely Jewish way of learning is how students have learned Torah and Talmud for centuries. Our sacred space, the Goor Sanctuary, will become a second home for students, so that when they arrive at their own special Mitzvah day, that space will feel comfortable and warm. 

*Please note that students who cannot decode Hebrew letters and vowels cannot be candidates for training beyond the foundational level. If you know you'd like to progress beyond that point, then additional, outside tutoring or an early start to the program may be required.



Torah - Learning and teaching Torah


We empower students to see themselves, their questions, and their lives in Torah by asking them to dig deeply into their parasha (portion) and its Jewish interpretive traditions. Students will learn Torah and provide a D'var Torah, a teaching related to their Torah portion. 


Your child will achieve the benchmarks of this pillar through meetings with a Temple Judea rabbi -- often the one officiating the B'nei Mitzvah. The frequency of meetings and duration will depend on the level you choose.

G'milut Chasadim - Service to Community


Students will service their community, fostering their sense of tikkun olam - the Jewish obligation to better the world around them - and sharing the Jewish vocabulary behind their passion for community engagement. 


Your child will achieve the benchmarks of this pillar by completing community service at Temple Judea or through external community service hours. Students will log their hours and relevant projects with a member of the clergy team. Depending on their desired level, each student will incorporate reflections about their g'milut chasadim service into their D'var Torah. At Temple Judea, some opportunities to meet this requirement include: 7th grade Tzedek track, Shabbat greeting, visiting seniors, volunteering at the Purim Carnival or with B'tzelem's backpack packing or thanksgiving meal boxes, and volunteering with Youth & Family programs. Activities are worth varying credit.