At Temple Emanuel we recognize that Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a crucially important moment in your child’s education, while also recognizing that it is just the beginning of their Jewish journey.
This life cycle moment is not a one-size-fits all affair. Instead we encourage our parents to choose the kind of ceremony that suits their child’s needs best, and that provides ample flexibility for the experience they hope to create.
These options include:
- A full “traditional” Saturday morning service.
- A Saturday morning service with only a Torah reading and no Haftarah.
- A shortened Saturday morning service.
- A Friday night service, without a Torah or Haftarah reading.
- A Saturday afternoon service, with a Torah reading, providing greater privacy for the family.
We ask that parents choose their Bar or Bat Mitzvah date nine months in advance, so that we can make sure that your child is on track for success. We meet with Bar Mitzvah parents and kids, both at the start of 6th and 7th grade, so as to ensure that everyone’s expectations are understood and that any questions you have can be answered. You will receive a full list of these options, a full outline of the Saturday morning service (if that is the ceremony you choose) and a template for the ceremony “program.”
Rabbi Marc teaches both 6th and 7th grade in the classroom and formal preparation for our Bnei Mitzvah begins in sixth grade, where the Torah service is studied in depth. We always encourage our students to continue their learning at home on our unique mobile app, which make learning Hebrew prayers a breeze. Parents are responsible to ensure that their child is practicing frequently at home to ensure that they are making timely progress.
Rabbi Marc begins tutoring your child one-on-one five months prior to the date you have chosen, so that your child is well-prepared for the big day. We understand the pressures imposed by student activities, so Wednesday school attendance becomes optional for 7th graders at the end of the first semester. Your child is required to attend at least two Shabbat services each month, preferably the same service that they will be participating in for their ceremony. This ensures their growing familiarity with the service, and that they will have opportunities to lead services before the big day arrives.
As part of your child’s one-on-one tutoring, they study meaningful Judaic texts alongside learning to chant the readings you have chosen. This makes it clear to your child that Bar or Bat Mitzvah is just the beginning and that Judaism is a sophisticated system of values that can support them for the rest of their lives.
Rabbi Marc considers it both a sacred charge and a privilege to develop a warm relationship with each and every one of our Bnei Mitzvah. It is that relationship that ensures your child will retain positive feelings for their Judaism long after the ceremony is done and encourages them to participate in our 8th and 9th grade programs.
Please feel free to contact Rabbi Marc with any questions you may have about the process at firstname.lastname@example.org.