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Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah (plural b'nei mitzvot) marks a milestone of Jewish development, an acknowledgment that our children stand at the threshold of adulthood and are ready to begin to take responsibility for their lives. From the age of 13 (for boys) and 12 (for girls), youths are counted as adults in forming a minyan (a quorum of 10) for prayer services, can wear a tallit, and can be called to the Torah in fulfillment of the community’s obligation to learn Torah.

Parents: Mazel Tov on entering the exciting world of B’nai Mitzvah! This process involves your Bar (son)/Bat (daughter) Mitzvah, your family and friends, and the entire Congregation Har Shalom community. While preparing for this joyous time can feel daunting and even overwhelming, rest assured that Har Shalom has plenty of resources to assist you in this special Jewish life cycle event. Our ultimate goal for each Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to create a meaningful, spiritual, inclusive, and communal celebration of a young Jewish person’s coming of age.

Wonderful changes are taking place in the lives of your children. It is a time of celebration, but not one of graduation. Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah connotes a beginning; it is a stepping stone along the path of Jewish learning. We are hopeful that, with study and an evolving love of Jewish tradition, our B’nai Mitzvah will carry forward all that is uplifting in our value system.

 

Our Philosophy: Connection, Study, Mitzvot

Connection

No child or parent, whether Jewish or not, should feel like a stranger on our bimah.  However, building spiritual connection within a community takes time.  The single most effective way to establish spiritual ties is for families to participate in the prayer life of Har Shalom by attending Shabbat services and other B’nai Mitzvah services. 

The establishment of our 4 for 4, 5 for 5, 6 for 6 program will help lay the foundation of a comfort level with the content and rhythm of Har Shalom services.  Service attendance can be at other congregations, but it is recommended that the majority of them be at Har Shalom.

Study

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah milestone is not the end of religious education, but rather an acknowledgment of the ongoing value of Torah study in a person’s life.  As our youth face the challenges of our modern world, we can support them by providing them with a spiritual and ethical connection to a dynamic and authentic tradition. 

To that end, the two years of Hebrew and religious education immediately preceding becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah must be at Congregation Har Shalom.  Rabbinic evaluation will address this issue in exceptional cases.  Hopefully, students who have been called to the Torah as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Har Shalom will continue to lead and learn as participants in Har Shalom’s Hebrew High and Madrichim programs.

Hiddur Mitzvah

The rabbis of the past taught that when a person endeavors to perform a mitzvah, they should do so with a full heart.  In other words, treat the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process as more than items to be checked off a “to do” list.  Help your child to experience pride and confidence as they lead the congregation to the best of their ability. 

Schedule and ensure your child attends study sessions with the Rabbi and tutoring sessions.  Discuss their D’var Torah with them as they develop their ideas.  Listen as much as possible as they practice their prayers and parashah:  even if you do not know Hebrew, your support and interest in their study is vital to their success.

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Wed, November 22 2017 4 Kislev 5778