Today is July 15, 2020 -
Mazel Tov! You and your family are about to celebrate a significant milestone in your child’s life. B’nai Mitzvah marks the time in a young person’s life when the greater community begins to view that person as an adult. In the Jewish tradition, a person is now capable of assuming more responsibilities, observing laws from the Torah, Mitzvot, participating in religious rituals and being counted as part of the Minyan (prayer quorum).
The leaders and congregation of Beth El Synagogue are excited to share this joyous moment with your family and are here to help you prepare for the occasion. The information in this booklet describes our policies and aims to answer many of the questions that you or your family may have. However, this booklet is by no means all inclusive; should you have additional questions please do not hesitate to call Rabbi Steven Abraham, Hazzan Michael Krausman, Executive Director Allison Newfeld or Director of Congregational Learning Eadie Tsabari at 402.492.8550.
Setting the Date
Selection of a date is made when your child turns 11 years old. Please call or email Hazzan Krausman after your child’s birthday to set up a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. firstname.lastname@example.org (402.492.8550). When you meet with Hazzan Krausman, care will be taken to work together to select a date with an appropriate portion for your child in order to maximize his or her experience.
Please note that Beth El Synagogue sees its sanctuary and chapel as places where all are welcome to worship. We are sensitive to children (and adults) with special needs. Parents with children who have special needs can make arrangements for a B’nai Mitzvah service by speaking with Hazzan Krausman.
Certain dates are not available for scheduling B’nai Mitzvah. Dates are not available from June 10th – August 10th. Beth El Synagogue will not schedule these Simchas during the High Holy Days season. This includes the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat Shuvah (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Nor will B’nai Mitzvah be scheduled during the Festivals of Sukkot, Pesach or Shavuot. Children who celebrate their 13th birthday during the summer will be scheduled during the fall.
Non-Shabbat Morning B’nai Mitzvah
While the norm for B’nai Mitzvah at Beth El remains a Saturday morning service, there are certain instances when it may be possible to have a B’nai Mitzvah celebration on a day other than Shabbat Morning.
Suggested T’filah Milestones for B’nai Mitzvah
The aim of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to set appropriate, but challenging goals which can be met in a positive, uplifting atmosphere. Bearing in mind the individual differences of each student, here is a somewhat prioritized list of B’nai Mitzvah milestones. Each student is encouraged to do what is appropriate for them – there are no minimum or maximum limits. Here are some examples of what our students can do:
Blessing for the Tallit
Haftarah, associated blessings, Maftir and additional Torah readings
Shema/ Gadlu, Ein Keloheinu /Aleinu/ Adon Olam /Vay’hi B’nsoah, Ein Kamocha/Bei Ana Rachetz/Torah Blessings, Hatzi Kaddish, Service for retuning the Torah
The D’var Torah
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech is a chance for your student to work with Rabbi Abraham and get a better understanding of their Torah and Haftara portion.
Shema and Associated Blessings, Amida section of Shacharit
Shema/Aleinu V’ Shamru/Kabalat Shabbat / or selected parts e.g. L’cha Dodi or Kiddush
Please Note: Shabbat Morning B’nai Mitzvah Students must be comfortable with their Haftarah and Torah reading before beginning to learn parts of the service.
The best way to be prepared for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to come weekly beginning in the 3rd grade to Junior Congregation and be an active part of your synagogue community. The most successful B’nai Mitzvah occur when the entire family attends services regularly and becomes part of the Shabbat community of Beth El.