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Preparing for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Service

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

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

In order to achieve the best possible outcome, we expect students to begin studying by at least 4th grade, and to continue in Religious School through the bar/bat mitzvah year. Exceptions are made at the discretion of the clergy team. Every student will be expected to meet a minimum Hebrew requirement.

Training process and timeline: Please know that we will reach out to all Temple members at the following moments. You can prepare by reading the following information, but know that you will be contacted before each new step.

4th GRADE:
Orientation and date selection. It is important that at least one parent attend this meeting, even if you have older children and have been through this before. Things continue to evolve and grow, as we develop our program and respond to changing needs.

5th GRADE:
Mitzvah Day and Tikkun Olam Projects begin.

6th GRADE:
Students have the opportunity to study with and get to know our clergy team during Religious School.

9-12 MONTHS BEFORE:
Active preparation for the ceremony begins. Make sure to reserve Wednesday afternoons for this part of the journey. Students attend weekly seminars (Prayer Seminar, Torah Seminar, Haftarah Seminar) on Wednesday afternoons followed by private mentoring sessions as time draws nearer to their service. More details will be provided to each family about the specific dates and classes, and will be updated as dates become available. CLICK HERE for a detailed description of the Seminars. CLICK HERE  for a chart with specific dates of upcoming classes. Some students opt for fully private tutoring instead for a small additional fee.  

2-3 MONTHS BEFORE:
Parents will receive a request for a photo of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah child and information regarding the student’s Mitzvah project for inclusion in The Judean. At this time, you will also be asked for the Hebrew names of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student and their parent(s).

4-6 WEEKS BEFORE:
The B’nei Mitzvah coordinator will contact you to schedule a D’var Torah (speech) meeting and rehearsals with the Rabbi and/or Cantor. A speech outline to guide your child in preparing for the meeting will be e-mailed in advance.

3-5 WEEKS BEFORE:
The officiating clergy will meet with you and your child to discuss the Torah portion and the D’var Torah that the child will be giving during their service.

1-2 WEEKS BEFORE:
You and your child will meet with the officiating clergy in the Goor Sanctuary or Chapel to review the sequence of the service, and chant everything that they have studied.

If you are planning on having photography at or before the service, you need to reserve the space with the B’nei Mitzvah coordinator. 

FRIDAY NIGHT BEFORE:

Your family is invited to participate in the Erev Shabbat service, where your child will chant the Kiddush. Your attendance needs to be confirmed with the B’nei Mitzvah coordinator.

MITZVAH PROJECT:

We strongly believe that it is our responsibility as Jews to improve our world. Each child should complete at least one Tikkun Olam project prior to becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We encourage families to work on this together. CLICK HERE for a list of suggested opportunities.  Clergy is always available to discuss your project in more detail.

We are often asked if there is a certain amount of time required. Whereas there is no specific time requirement, we feel that the child and family should find their contribution meaningful and their efforts worthwhile. We hope that this work will continue and not be just a one-time activity.

EREV SHABBAT (FRIDAY NIGHT) SERVICE ATTENDANCE:

We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important we feel it is, especially as you and your child embark upon this B’nei Mitzvah journey, to experience our worship services, both on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Worshipping together as a congregation is an important part of Judaism, and we take pride in the services we have created especially for you. Our services are unique to Temple Judea, and a Bar/Bat Mitzvah service your child may attend at another congregation may be considerably different from ours. You and your child should become familiar with our services, so that you will know what is expected as parents and that your child will know their role in the service as well. We hope you become comfortable attending our services and worshipping with us.

WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS SPECIAL NEEDS?

We can accommodate your child with special needs and create a service that will be appropriate for his or her individual needs, allowing him/her to have a wonderful experience. We ask that you inform us of any special needs before you finalize a date for your child’s service. If you have already finalized a date and we are unaware of your child’s needs, contact us immediately. Certain needs might require an extended period of preparation or perhaps one of our special needs tutors. Advance information allows us to best aid you in creating a meaningful moment for your family.