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Becoming Bar and Bat mitzvah at Temple Sinai

 

How to Think About It

Our religious tradition provides us many ways to pause on our life's journey and to enjoy the moments.  To look around from the high points and to appreciate all we've accomplished and all there is still to do.  On the journey of one's Jewish education, we pause at the very beginning for the ceremony of Consecration.  We celebrate the milestone of Confirmation in 10th grade and right in between the two, we stop to honor the coming of age for our students at 13 years old.  Bar (for a boy) and Bat (for a girl) mitzvah is not a ceremony nor is it a verb - the rabbi does not "bar mitzvah your son."  Instead, your daughter is the bat mitzvah.  And, whether or not you choose to celebrate the moment with a big party, our kids become b'nei (the plural) mitzvah automatically.  So, in truth, what we're doing on that very special morning is granting this young person the privilege that every other Jewish person over the age of 13 already has: namely, to lead one's community in prayer and to read from the Torah scroll.

Getting there, for most of our students is an important combination of education at the Temple beginning in kindergarten and support at home.  At Temple Sinai, our students acquire the skills to lead a service simply by being here with us but, in truth, we’re more interested in teaching our youth what it means to be a part of the community.  At the same time, we’ll be teaching them basic Jewish literacy and helping them to develop an enduring, healthy and positive Jewish identity.

Perhaps most importantly, it is vitally important that our families understand that the bar/bat mitzvah is not the end of one's Jewish educational Journey!  As soon as s/he has celebrated this moment, it is time to head back to the classroom with Rabbi TelRav in our Schiff Tichon Sinai Program.  It is here that the Rabbi will be working with our teens during a three-year Confirmation curriculum and integrating everything they've learned about Judaism into their own lives.  There is also the opportunity to become a madrich/ah in our religious school classrooms.  These teachers' assistants are an integral value to our students, our teachers and most of all, to the madrichim themselves.  At the same time, Temple Sinai has a vibrant NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) chapter called SoSTY (Sinai of Stamford Temple Youth).  If you are interested in knowing more, reach out to Rabbi TelRav to discuss any of our post-b'nei mitzvah programs.

This feels like a really big undertaking to many parents but, in our experience, it becomes very meaningful and we have many, many tools to help you get done what you need to and to appreciate the process along the way.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Resources

Take a look at the materials below and then, if you find you still have questions or would like us to be in touch with you about the bar/bat mitzvah experience at Temple Sinai, please fill out this form and one of our volunteer chairpersons will get in touch with you.  

B'nei Mitzvah Handbook

First and foremost, parents can find almost everything need from preparation calendars and photographer guidelines to fees and ordering kippot.  If you do not find what you're looking for here, feel free to reach out to our b'nei mitzvah committee to ask your questions or call the Temple office.  Click on the image to the left to open up the pdf of our handbook.

 

 

13 Mitzvot

Our belief is that the process of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah will yield as much meaning as our families invest.  For that reason, we do not set a requirement for attending services nor a specific expectation concerning mitzvah projects for our students.  We encourage and facilitate as much as a family is ready to do.

Many find that attaching a service project to the experience is really meaningful for the student and their family.  The word, "mitzvah" means, "commanded" but many think of it as, "good deeds."  At Temple Sinai, we teach that we are commanded to be a part of doing good things in the world.  To that end, we have developed a program that we call “13 Mitzvot,” which includes many, many suggested activities/projects falling into multiple categories.  Some are very easy and brief while others will require a greater degree of commitment. All of them are designed to expose our children to the variety of Jewish behaviors and they all present the biblical sources that encourage that particular activity.  Take a look and we think you will realize just how much meaning your family will acquire from the fulfillment of 13 Mitzvot.

 

Liturgical Resources
 

There is a lot to learn as one prepares to lead or participate in a Jewish worship service.  To help, we've created some resources for you.

To listen to and read along with the prayers as Cantor Micah recites them,  click here.

To listen to some of the newest music we're using in our services, click here.

 

Forms
 

Service Honors Form - This is the sheet that lists the people you would like to include in your child's bar/bat mitzvah service.

Torah Reading Selection Form - This form will walk you through four steps to choosing the verses your child will read from the Torah at the Shabbat service.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Date Selection Form [Sample] - This is the form you'll submit to the b'nai mitzvah committee to request a specific date for your child's big day.  These will be sent home to all our upcoming families with plenty of time to return them but, if you misplace it, you can print it again, here.

Sat, July 20 2019 17 Tammuz 5779