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B'nei Mitzvah

Becoming b’nei mitzvah is an incredible event in the life cycle of a young person and their family. B'nei mitzvah is about ritual maturity, and it is a public ritual that celebrates that milestone. It is about growing up as a Jew. It is about becoming a fuller member of the Jewish community. It is about moral responsibility, and about connecting to Torah, to community, and to God. Families have deeply personal and meaningful experiences through b’nei mitzvah preparation and celebration. The clergy and staff at KAM Isaiah Israel work closely with the entire b'nei mitzvah family during this meaningful time and are always available to answer questions or discuss concerns. It is an incredibly meaningful experience to work with young people through this process and to see them shine as they formally take their place in our community.

The KAM Isaiah Israel b'nei mitzah handbook helps make the period of study and preparation for the ceremony less stressful and, hopefully, more meaningful. The b'nei mitzvah process is intended to help families feel part of our ongoing tradition l'dor vador, from generation to generation. The study and mitzvah opportunities presented in the handbook will help families maintain this chain of tradition during this important life cycle event.

Our warm, close community gives b’nei mitzvah families the opportunity to have a customized experience, individual relationships with the clergy, and a lot of interaction with other b’nei mitzvah families at KAM Isaiah Israel. We value individuality and diversity of our b’nei mitzvah. We work with learners’ strengths to design rituals that help them thrive and shine through this process.

Timeline

B’nei mitzvah is about celebrating becoming a Jewish adult, a process that neither begins nor ends with the b’nei mitzvah service itself. This timeline pertains to the concrete steps towards becoming b’nei mitzvah and does not include the many components involved in Jewish identity building that children and families engage in before 5th grade.

Preparation for b’nei mitzvah is a gradual process. Doing a smaller amount of preparation for a longer time frame is how learners most effectively incorporate Judaism into their lives as they prepare to become Jewish adults. Weekly tutoring sessions with Cantor Berger are typically 15 minutes, starting 9 months before the service, and weekly sessions with Rabbi Reeves are typically 15 minutes, starting 3 months before the service. Practicing prayers and Torah a little at a time several times a week and attending services regularly is the best way to prepare for the b’nei mitzvah service.

  • 3rd-6th grade: Individual 30-minute Hebrew@Home sessions during the school year
  • 5th grade: Family kickoff program and date request process
  • 6th grade: Three-part Saturday family program series with other 6th grade b’nei mitzvah families
  • One year before b’nei mitzvah: Family meeting with clergy
  • 9 months before b’nei mitzvah: Learner begins individual tutoring
  • 3 months before b’nei mitzvah: Family meeting with clergy
  • 10 days before b’nei mitzvah: Family rehearsal

Six Points Project

The goal of the Six Points Project is to help b’nei mitzvah explore the multiple ways of being Jewish. Becoming b’nei mitzvah is about more than the Saturday morning service the young person helps lead and more than the celebration afterward. It is about growing into Jewish adulthood and developing all of the facets of one’s Jewish identity. The Six Points Project gives structure to that process and guides young people through these six areas of Jewish identity: Atzmut (Self), Chesed (Loving-Kindness), Yisrael (Israel), Limud (Learning), Kehillah (Community), Tefilah (Prayer).

Each b’nei mitzvah gets a personalized b’nei mitzvah document that details what they’re working on with the clergy as well as their progress on the Six Points. This is a place for families and young people to track what they’ve done and what they plan to do in each area. The Shoresh curriculum in 6th-9th grades introduces each of these Six Points in a Jewish text-focused and project-based learning format to allow 6th-9th graders to explore each area.

B’nei mitzvah are encouraged to do their own exploration based on their personal interests and skills. For example, a musician or artist may add Atzmut (Self) elements to their b’nei mitzvah service. A community service minded young person may focus on a larger Chesed (Loving-kindness) project leading up to their b’nei mitzvah service.

B’nei mitzvah service

Families frequently want to know what their child will do or lead at the b’nei mitzvah service on Shabbat morning. At KAM Isaiah Israel, b’nei mitzvah are unique depending on the strengths and interests of the child. All b’nei mitzvah are given challenges to rise to; the specific challenge depends on the specific child. It is typical for b’nei mitzvah to lead parts of the Saturday morning service in English and in Hebrew; to read or chant from the Torah and be called to the Torah for an aliyah; and to give a d’var Torah (speech). The amount of Torah and/or Haftarah and the number of prayers depends on the learner’s interest and abilities.

Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782