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Bar and Bat Mitzvah at Beth Chaim

B’nei Mitzvah are truly special for Beth Chaim’s students. In our tradition, young Jews do not “have” a bar or bat mitzvah. A girl becomes a bat mitzvah, and a boy becomes a bar mitzvah. It is not only performative; it is transformative. At Beth Chaim, we look at the nature of mitzvah (“commandment”) with an eye to setting spiritual practices of sharing, learning, and acting kindly towards others in the hearts of our young adults. We learn the practice of tefilah (“prayer”) and blessings, as a pathway to nurture awareness and create good habits. We aim to share the richness of Jewish tradition and to assist our students in leading a life of gratitude, meaning and joy.

In keeping with this change of status, preparations take place on all levels to welcome our young adults and give their families an opportunity to experience this event as truly awe-inspiring.  Students prepare to lead prayer, read from our Torah scroll, share reflections about the texts, and take on new responsibilities. The B’nei Mitzvah training includes:

  • "Jew Crew" (7th Grade) — On Sundays, Jew Crew combines Tikkun Olam (social justice) experiences and environmental education (such as hiking), along with volunteer opportunities at Beth Chaim. Midweek, it focuses on honing skills for the ceremony: Torah chanting and making Jewish ritual a dynamic part of one’s life.
  • Monthly B’nei Mitzvah Family Class — students and adults attend a monthly class with Rabbi Dan. Here we form our community, study together, and kvell (rejoice) as our young people take the lead into the future.
  • Attendance at Shabbat services — At least 10 Shabbat morning services and 4 Friday night services before the bar or bat mitzvah.
  • At least 8 hours  of volunteering for Beth Chaim as a family.
  • Attending private trope and D’var Torah study sessions.
  • Participating in the B’nei Mitzvah Tzedakah Fund.

A complete guide to the B’nei Mitzvah program, including details of all requirements, can be obtained from the Beit Midrash office.