Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone for Jewish education at Congregation Beth Elohim--one that we hope marks beginnings, not endings for our students.
At CBE, we believe that a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is just one step—although an important one—in a person’s Jewish life. While preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah takes place throughout a student’s years in the Religious School, specially focused activities and resources in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year include the following:
Twice each year we hold a two-session “Bar/Bat Mitzvah Institute” at which families whose students will become Bar/Bat Mitzvah in upcoming months are invited to explore various aspects of the occasion from the history and meaning of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to the nuts and bolts of working with the congregation office on the logistics of the day.
Approximately six months before a student’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, he or she will start working with one of the congregation’s tutors on his or her reading from the Torah, Haftorah and other portions of the service that he or she will lead.
Because students reaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah are expected to teach as well as to learn, preparation also involves the student working with our rabbi and our cantor on his or her D’var Torah, an analysis of the Torah portion that he or she will deliver on the day.
All of our students reaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah are encouraged to develop and carry out a “chesed project,” some form of social action meaningful to the student that serves as a reminder that one of the key mitzvot that Jews are required to carry out is “tikun olam,” or “repairing the world.”
The synagogue social hall and other facilities are available for kiddush and receptions if desired. The congregation office also has a list of resources for parents, including recommendations and reviews of local banquet facilities, caterers, florists and other vendors who have been used by other families in the congregation for their celebrations.
The actual Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies are conducted as part of our regular Saturday morning Shabbat services where all members of the Beth Elohim community are welcome.
Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation is also offered through CBE's adult education program.