Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community


This timeline/to do list is designed to help you in the planning of your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It includes only the religious and educational aspects of this event. For insight on planning the celebratory aspects we encourage you to consult the Members Only page that highlights some useful advice from families at Kol Ami who have celebrated this milestone.

12-18 Months:

  • Meet with/contact the Rabbi to identify desired/available date and Torah portion
  • Contact Kol Ami coordinator/Ritual Committee/UUCA to determine availability of space
  • Notify Kol Ami coordinator/Rabbi once date is determined to reserve on the Kol Ami calendar
  • Attend orientation for families (if conducted)
  • Read over the Bnai Mitzvah Handbook
  • Explore options for tutors (see Bnai Mitzvah Shmooze page for list)

9 to 12 Months

  • Interview and hire a private tutor
  • Begin attending Shabbat morning services regularly
  • Meet with the Rabbi to review the outline of the service, discuss the Torah portion, and discuss the family’s vision for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Begin studying trope with tutor and reviewing Hebrew prayers
  • Identify Mitzvah project

3 to 6 Months

  • Family may meet with Rabbi to discuss progress, mitzvah project
  • Continuing study of Torah portion and prayers with tutor and at JCEP
  • Confirm arrangements/reservation with UUCA and complete the agreement

2 to 3 Months

  • Continuing study of all elements of the service
  • Meet with the Rabbi to study Torah portion and commentaries;  child prepares a draft dvar Torah within one week and emails it to the Rabbi.  (Alternatively, student works with tutor on dvar Torah; draft is sent to the Rabbi no later than 3 weeks before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.)
  • Organize aliyot and send Reconstructionist version of Torah blessings to everyone who has an aliyah
  • Select additional English readings and send copies to family and friends who will be participating in the service
  • Publicize Mitzvah project if charitable donations will be sought

4 Weeks

  • Finalize dvar Torah and email it to the Rabbi no later than 3 weeks before the date
  • Polish aliyot and prayers the child will lead
  • Send reminders to everyone involved in service
  • Parents/caregivers compose remarks of blessings to child, practice aliyot blessings and Shehecheyanu

1 to 2 Weeks

  • Meet with Rabbi, tutor, and UUCA Administrator for onsite rehearsal

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