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Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Temple Emeth takes pride in preparing our young people to lead a Shabbat service, chant from the Torah and give a d’var Torah as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

The B’nai Mitzvah process at Temple Emeth is a continuation of the religious school education that we provide in collaboration with Temple Sinai. We encourage enrollment as early as Kindergarten and require enrollment by the third grade. This provides not only the background in Hebrew and Judaica that are essential to a smooth B’nai Mitzvah process, but also the chance for students and parents alike to be a part of our warm, supportive community.

The goal of the B’nai Mitzvah program at Temple Emeth is to facilitate each young person’s ability to read Torah and lead a Reform Jewish prayer service (t’filah), to establish a warm relationship with our clergy and staff, and to introduce the family to the many ways the Temple Emeth community facilitates a life-long commitment to Judaism.

The B’nai Mitzvah training program is an extension of the student’s religious school experience and preparation to join the synagogue community. Our program and expectations are geared to each child’s particular strengths and abilities. Family participation and support are essential during various phases of the training process.

There are three main components to B’nai Mitzvah:

Mastering the Prayers in Mishkan T’filah. Each student reads, chants or sings about ten prayers from our siddur (prayer book), Mishkan T’filah. To ensure that each student is confident when reciting these prayers, about a year prior to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah service, the student begins one-on-one lessons with a skilled volunteer tutor who is a member of the congregation. We pair student and tutor for best fit in terms of personality and learning style. With this teacher, the student reviews and fine-tunes the prayers and blessings, both in Hebrew and in English.

Learning to Chant Torah and Haftarah. With Rabbi Sirbu, the student selects a section of the Torah portion to chant at the service. The student then begins individual lessons for about sixteen weeks during which time, the student gains confidence in the chanting of their Torah and Haftarah portions.

Writing a D’var Torah. The B’nai Mitzvah process at Temple Emeth includes the chance to write a d’var Torah (short interpretation of the Torah portion) with Rabbi Sirbu. About two months prior to the date the student, parents and rabbi have the first of four lessons to write and revise the d’var Torah. The d’var Torah is usually around 600 words. In addition to interpreting the Torah portion, it includes a paragraph on the importance of this day to me and a paragraph offering words of thanks to those who have been helpful in this process.

In the two weeks immediately preceding the service, the student and family participate two in rehearsals with the Rabbi in the Sanctuary.

The process culminates in a joyous congregational service held on Shabbat morning at 10:30 am in the Sanctuary, attended by family, friends, and the Temple Emeth community. We hope the service will be the beginning of a full and meaningful adult Jewish life.

Some of our families choose to print their own program booklets for distribution at the Bar or Bat Mitzvah service. We find that using our template is a good place to start before making customizations. Click here for a sample service program text.

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784