Today is March 26, 2017 -

B’nai Mitzvah Timeline

We know that this wonderful Jewish life cycle celebration takes a lot of planning. We also recognize that it is the ultimate family affair. We would like to suggest the following timeline and checklist that can help you organize and enjoy the months that lead up to your family celebration.

This list is divided into 3 important timelines: things concerning the bar/bat mitzvah student, things the parent should consider, and things concerned with your party/event.

Two Years Ahead

Student

  • Begin working on prayers with a focus on the Amidah and Friday night.
  • Come consistently to BESTT Hebrew School. It is only on Wednesdays and Sundays, so it is important that you come for every class.
  • Come weekly or at least twice a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring.
  • Come to Family Shabbat and lead part of the service.

Parent

  • Make sure you are a member in good standing at Beth El.
  • Please call Hazzan Krausman after your student’s 11th birthday to choose a date for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  • Start coming to services Friday nights and/or Saturday mornings with your student. Our Shabbat Tables is another great opportunity to be involved in Shabbat.

Event Planning

  • Make an initial budget and stick to it!
  • Get informed.

One Year Ahead

Student

  • Student will go over and polish all prayers for the Friday night and Saturday morning service.  During class you will review and focus on leading prayers for Shabbat.
  • Keep practicing your Hebrew reading. Do your homework and reinforce your Hebrew.
  • Come weekly or at least twice a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring.
  • Come once a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • 6th graders will learn Trope and the Torah Service during Hebrew School.
  • 7th graders will participate in the Mitzvah Corp.
  • Meet with Rabbi Abraham and parents.

Parent

  • Take a class at the synagogue.
  • Be involved and show by example the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is important.
  • Learn the prayers by coming to services.
  • Keep coming to services Friday nights and/or Saturday mornings with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Get involved in the Our Shabbat Tables program at Beth El.

Event Planning

  • Reserve the West Court for a beautiful and convenient Shabbat dinner.
  • Check venues and reserve space for your party.
  • Book music and a photographer.
  • Start making your invitation list with correct addresses.
  • Reserve a block of rooms at a hotel for out of town guests.
  • Find a caterer.

Make sure you have written contracts with all of the above!

Check your budget!

Nine Months Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with the Hazzan begin. These lessons are very important and lots of fun! Everyone’s time is valuable so please be prompt for your lessons. You will receive a progress report with assignments after each lesson, please be sure to review this with your child.
  • During class you will practice reading either your Torah or Haftara portions.
  • Come weekly or at least three times a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring.
  • Come twice a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi.

Parent

  • Take a class at the synagogue.
  • Be involved and show by example the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is important.
  • Learn the prayers by coming to services
  • Keep coming to services Friday nights and/or Saturday mornings with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Get involved in the Our Shabbat Tables program at Beth El.
  • Discuss with your family ways to incorporate Judaism into your simcha and reception.
  • Make baking dates with Laura in the kitchen.

Event Planning

  • Send out a save the date card.
  • Think about a theme for your party.

Six Months Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons, daily study at home for 15 minutes every day.
  • Come weekly or at least three times a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring.
  • Come twice a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi

Parent

  • Take a class at the synagogue.
  • Be involved and show by example the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is important.
  • Learn the prayers by coming to services Friday and/or Saturday with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Discuss with your family ways to incorporate Judaism into your simcha and reception.
  • Talk to your student about their Torah portion. Do they know the name? Have they read it together with you? In Hebrew? In English? Sit with them while they study every night and reward them when they do their studies willingly.

Event Planning

  • Order invitations – remember it’s about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, not the party. Friday services begin at Beth El at 6:00 pm; Saturday services begin at 9:30 am.
  • Meet with the caterer
  • Develop your theme

Four Months Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with Hazzan continue.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 20 minutes every day.
  • Come at least three times a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring and lead services.
  • Come twice a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi.

Parent

  • Learn the prayers by coming to services Friday and/or Saturday with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Talk to your student about their Torah portion. Sit with them while they study every night and praise them when they do their studies willingly.
  • Progress check with Hazzan.

Event Planning

  • Stop in the gift shop. Find a beautiful tallit and t’filin or order one.
  • Shop for clothes and shoes.
  • Think about ordering the following 5 things (just suggestions) for Saturday morning:
    • Kippot
    • Napkins with your child’s name on them
    • Skirting to make the room look special
    • Flowers for the Bimah (maximum height: 38 inches)
    • Centerpieces on the tables

…….Everyone does it differently and everyone does it right!…….

Three Months Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 20 minutes every day.
  • Come at least three times a month to Junior Congregation for tutoring and lead services.
  • Come twice a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi and begin to prepare your D’var Torah.

Parent

  •  Learn the prayers by coming to services Friday and/or Saturday with your student.
  •  Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  •  Talk to your student about their Torah portion. Have they read it together with you? Sit with them while they study every night and reward them when they do their studies willingly.
  •  Invite family members to read available Torah portions. Get information from Hazzan Krausman.
  •  Talk with Hazzan about choosing a Simcha Coordinator. Choose a board member to sit on the Bimah.

Event Planning

  • Please make an appointment to discuss and review general logistics and other arrangements with our Executive Director no later than 3 months prior to your simcha.
  • Have the invites addressed and ready for mailing. The current BESTT student list is in your packet.
  • Keep baking!

Two Months Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with Hazzan continue.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 25 minutes every day.
  • Come to Junior Congregation and lead services or attend sanctuary services with your family to become more comfortable with the service.
  • Come twice a month to Friday night services.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu, Adon Olam or the Torah Service in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi and continue preparing your D’var Torah.

Parent

  • Learn the prayers by coming to services Friday and/or Saturday with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Has your student read his/her Torah and Haftara together with you? Sit with them while they study every night and reward them when they do their studies willingly.
  • Contact your Simcha Coordinator. They will help you with assigning honors in the service.
  • Ask family and friends to take an Aliyah.

Event Planning

  • Mail the invitations. Go to the post office to have the complete invitation weighed and purchase the appropriate stamps.
  • Get photo of your child to the Jewish Press. Email a jpeg photo and pertinent information with proper spelling to Beth El Synagogue. Let us know who is sponsoring the Kiddush.

One Month Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with Hazzan move to the main sanctuary.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 30 minutes every day
  • Attend sanctuary services with your family to become more comfortable with the service.
  • Come to Friday night services and lead.
  • Lead services at Family Shabbat.
  • Lead Ashrei, Alenu and Adon Olam or the Torah Service in the main service on Saturday morning.
  • Meet with the rabbi and finalize your D’var Torah.

Parent

  • Keep coming to services Friday night and/or Saturday morning with your student.
  • Make Shabbat dinner at your house. Light candles, say the Kiddush and make HaMotzi.
  • Meet with your Simcha Coordinator.
  • If you are writing a speech, start writing!
  • Review with Hazzan what service parts are being done by your student.

Event Planning

  • Touch base with all of your vendors.
  • Make sure your event planner knows that it is your turn and you want to see that everything is moving along.
  • Make hair and nail appointments.
  • Get your clothes to the tailor.

Two Weeks Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with Hazzan continue in the main sanctuary.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 30 minutes every day.
  • Come to Shabbat services and lead parts of the main service.
  • Come to Friday Night Services and lead.

Parent

  • Call the Rabbi, Hazzan or Executive Director with any questions.
  •  Thank the people who have helped your B’nai Mitzvah arrive at to this point
  •  Finalize honors with your Simcha Coordinator and get them the Hebrew names of those who will do Torah blessings.
  •  Select parents prayer from those suggested by Rabbi Abraham.

Event Planning

  • Call the late RSVPs to see if they are coming. Confirm headcount.
  • Compose candle lighting introductions or poems.
  • Organize hotel baskets. Prepare itineraries and anything else you want included.

One Week Ahead

Student

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons with Hazzan continue in the main sanctuary.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah begins daily study at home for 30 minutes every day or more if needed.

Parent

  • Finalize all details with Laura in the kitchen.
  • Finalize Aliyah list and give a copy to your Simcha Coordinator.
  • Let synagogue office know Friday night babysitting needs.
  • Bring liquor for Shabbat morning – 1 bottle of wine, 1 bottle of grape juice, 1 bottle of whiskey.
  • Submit parent and student speeches to Rabbi Abraham.

Event Planning

  • Contact all event vendors for last minute details or questions.
  • Confirm all details are in place (food, decorations) for other events being hosted (Shabbat dinner, Kiddush, etc).
  • Finish table arrangements and place cards.
  • Submit out-of-town guest list to synagogue office by Monday.
  • Remind vendors: no deliveries after 3:00 pm on Friday.

Actual Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Monday or Thursday

Student and Family

  • On the Monday or Thursday morning closest to their Hebrew Birthday, B’nai Mitzvah are called to the Torah at our 7:00 am morning minyan in the chapel. The boys put on tallit and tefillin. The girls are encouraged to do so, too. The B’nai Mitzvah are encouraged to read Torah and/or take an aliyah. You can take pictures at this service so make sure to bring your cameras.  You are invited to stay for breakfast with the “regulars”. You may wish to sponsor a light breakfast and invite friends and relatives. You should be done by 8:00 am.
Event Planning
  • Drop off welcome baskets at hotel.

Friday Morning or Afternoon

Photographer may take pictures on Bimah prior to Shabbat – coordinate timing with Hazzan Krausman and Rabbi Abraham

Friday Evening

Services begin at 6 pm sharp. Ask your guests to be here there by 5:45 pm so you can sit together. Services for B’nai mitzvah weekends will always be held in the sanctuary.

Saturday Morning

The day has finally come and it is a very exciting day indeed! Make sure to bring the Bar/Bat Mitzvah book, Tallit and any other materials. Come early (9:10 am), relax, feel comfortable and enjoy the moment. It goes by very quickly. Kiss your kid and feel proud of this great accomplishment. Enjoy your Beth El home and all that it can offer for you. MAZEL TOV!

Next Shabbat

You’ve made it and the good news is it is only the beginning of your journey.  We expect you to take your new adult responsibility very seriously.  You are now an official TSS (Torah Study Skills) tutor, which means you can help the younger students on their journey to Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Come and help them, be a service leader and be an important part of your community. You can also become a part of the Madrechim program on Sundays, be a leader for the younger students and be a tutor.

We also expect you to be here on Wednesday for BESTT Hebrew School.  Please complete your studies this year and stay connected to the synagogue.

Next year, in the 8th grade, you will be in the Holocaust studies course, a class that every Jewish student needs for their Jewish education. You will be invited to take the annual trip to Chicago, to visit the Skokie Holocaust Museum.