Mazel tov to our B’nai Mitzvah students! Reaching the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a major milestone in the life of a child, his or her family, and the entire congregation. We are thrilled to watch children grow up in the community, attend JCEP, join us at services, and become more and more at home with Jewish living. After achieving the status of Bar or Bat Mitzvah, we encourage our teens to become madrichim/counselors in JCEP, to join our Teen class, and to plan other fulfilling milestones as they grow older.
Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah carries much meaning – as well as much joy – because it reflects a young person’s readiness to become a practicing member of the Jewish community. It is not, as is often supposed, a single occasion or the endpoint of a child’s Jewish education and learning. It is a capability, a process, and a choice that the young person freely makes. Our intent is for each child who becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah to feel he/she has reached a spiritually meaningful time, has achieved something special, and is on the way to greater Jewish knowledge and involvement.
As much as the student takes joy and pride in the demonstration of Jewish knowledge, comfort in our tradition, and commitment to ethical action, so does the community. We aim to support the student and family along the way, through Kol Ami’s trademark warmth, flexibility, acceptance of individual and family differences, and emphasis on community.
Our B’nai Mitzvah services follow traditional lines but offer an opportunity for creative expressions of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student. Often the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student will lead prayers during the Shabbat service, chant from the Torah, expound on the Torah portion, and complete a mitzvah project. Some of our Bnai Mitzvah students have accompanied our Kol Amite musicians or written poetry for the occasion. We are sensitive to the differing needs, backgrounds, and level of comfort of each child with Hebrew and with public performance.
B’nai Mitzvah students and their families hold an initial meeting with Rabbi Gilah at the start of the process, and then another once or twice during the year before the service. A rehearsal is held the week of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Kol Ami welcomes you taking this important step to becoming a fully responsible member of our community! We’re here to help.
In 2019-2020, over half a dozen Kol Ami members are engaged in an Adult B’nai Mitzvah journey. Participants are learning aspects of Judaism from an adult perspective, boosting their Hebrew reading skills, and preparing to read from the Torah.