Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies mark the symbolic transition from childhood to adulthood. Bar/Bat Mitzvah means “son/daughter of the commandment.” To become an adult in the Jewish community is to take on the Mitzvot/Commandments or sacred obligations of Jewish tradition. Our students prepare for this responsibility by practicing and mastering the skills needed to take on their religious and ritual obligations, by studying and putting into action Jewish ethics, and by investigating their own Jewish identity to begin to make their own decisions about how they live their Jewish lives. In this way their studies empower them to define for themselves what it means to be Bar or Bat Mitzvah while giving them the tools to craft their Jewish life.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony enables family, friends and the synagogue community to celebrate together the continuity of tradition and faith. It is a public and personal reminder of the unique place each Jew occupies in the chain of tradition. For parents and teachers, the ceremony is a reminder of the role they play in transmitting Jewish heritage from one generation to the next, l’dor v’dor. For the child, the ceremony marks the point at which Jewish study becomes Jewish action, the point at which he or she becomes a role model for Jewish generations to come.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the beginning of a lifetime of Jewish study. Continued religious school education through Confirmation (10th Grade) is expected of all our students, as they continue to craft their Jewish lives and deepen their Jewish knowledge and commitment.
Our goal at Temple Sinai is to help you create a truly meaningful experience for your whole family in as stress-free and as supportive an environment as possible. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah process begins by attending an informational meeting with the Cantor. In addition to their Religious School studies, students begin additional Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation six months before their ceremony. Students meet with a one-on-one tutor for 14 half-hour sessions during which they master key elements of the service and learn their haftarah portion. Students have eight half-hour sessions with Cantor Keys and 4 sessions with the officiating Rabbi in which they learn their Torah portion, prepare their Dvar Torah / Sermon, and review the ceremony. Finally, there are 3 rehearsals. Additional tutoring may be arranged for students needing additional support or Hebrew instruction. Students also complete a special Mitzvah/Community Service Project during their Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation.
Please note that adults are also warmly welcomed and encouraged to have their own adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
For more information on Bar or Bat Mitzvah, please contact Cantor Ilene Keys.
Resources for Bar/Bat Mitzvah Families:
Friday Night Candle Blessing
Torah Blessings (PDF)
Torah Blessings (Audio - Tracks 2-3)
Shabbat Candle Blessing (Track 5)