Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
Reaching the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a major milestone in the life of a child, their family, and the entire congregation. Whether or not a child has a ceremony marking their coming of age, we as a community take great joy in watching them 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/coaches in our Hebrew school, to join our Pizza and Talmud class, and to plan other fulfilling milestones as they grow older.
Kol Ami is committed to treating each child as an individual. Accordingly, we will be using the term B-Mitzvah, to be inclusive of children who identify as male, female, non-binary, and queer. Our intent is for all of our B-Mitzvah kids to feel that they have reached a spiritually meaningful time, have achieved something special, and are on the way to greater Jewish knowledge and involvement. As a community, we aim to support preteens and their families along the way, through Kol Ami’s trademark warmth, flexibility, and acceptance of individual and family differences. In 2022, we launched the B-Mitzvah program of Moving Traditions, which works with families across the country to explore the changes in status and responsibilities that come with teenage-hood.
For students who choose to have a B-Mitzvah ceremony, our services follow traditional lines but offer an opportunity for creative expressions. Often the B-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 B-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-Mitzvah students and their families hold an initial meeting with Rabbi Gilah at the start of the process, and then several additional meetings during the year before the service. We can recommend a number of tutors in the DMV area for weekly preparations. A rehearsal is held the week of the B-Mitzvah service.
Here are some important resources for families choosing to have a B-Mitzvah service:
— Frequently Asked Questions for Kol Ami B-Mitzvahs
— Our Shabbat Morning Service (Melodies for Prayers and Torah/Haftorah Trope)
Kol Ami welcomes you taking this important step to becoming a fully responsible member of our community! Mazel tov to all our families of B-Mitzvah kids!