Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an exciting time in the lives of our members and the life of our community. We say "becoming" instead of "having" because the Bar/Bat Mitzvah marks a transitional moment in the life of a Jewish child- They are, in essence, saying that they are ready to take on the responsibilities of Jewish adulthood and become a responsible member of the Jewish community. Although students spend quite a bit of time and effort preparing for this one day, the Bar/ Bat MItzvah marks a new beginning of Jewish involvement and commitment that we hope our students will nurture and continue with Temple Shalom's Chelsea Teen and Confirmation programs and carry throughout the rest of their lives.
Bar- Mitzvah dates are chosen during the fifth grade year at an annual meeting attended by parents, clergy and the executive director. Rather than assigning dates, parents are asked to come with list of three date preferences and we are always able to accomodate. We offer the option of Shabbat morning or Havdallah - Saurday evening services and all students have single family services.
At Temple Shalom, we are committed to providing and positive experience for all of our students. Each family is treated with great care as individuals, and we do our best to honor special requests, needs and any date changes as they may arise, provided our temple calendar allows.
In the preparation for Bar/ Bat Mitzvah students typically begin work with Cantor Sklar 10 months in advance of their Bar/ Bat Mitzvah date, attending weekly lessons either on Sunday mornings or Wednesday afternoons, with 2-3 lessons a week possible if a student needs extra help and/ or as the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date is approaching. Towards the end of their studies, students meet regularly with Rabbi Lipson to work on their D'var Torah and do walk-throughs of the service so that they are fully prepared and confident.
During the Bar/ Bat MItzvah year, students learn to lead parts of a Shabbat service, chant from the Torah and the Haftarah (the prophetic reading), and write and deliver a D’var Torah, a teaching from their Torah portion. Other requirements include undertaking a Mitzvah project ( social service) and attendance at 10 Friday night Shabbat services throughout the course of the year, where they participate in the service and hone their service- leading skills, taking part in the worship of our community.
We are blessed at Temple Shalom with many young people becoming B’nai Mitzvah, and through this lifecycle event we are strengthened as a synagogue and as a community.
For any questions about the Bar/ Bat MItzvah process, please contact Cantor Shirah Sklar through the temple office or at firstname.lastname@example.org