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B'nai Mitzvah

Becoming a Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah is an exciting time for children and their families. We strive to make the process meaningful and fun. Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah dates are assigned at the end of your child's fifth grade year. If your child begins Religious School after that time, a date will still be available for them. Approximately 9-12 months prior to your child's date, you will be notified that your child will be working with a member of our clergy to begin their preparation. B'nai Mitzvah classes are held on Wednesday afternoons. Every student will be given plenty of preparation time in a friendly study group setting with the Cantor. We provide materials that lay out all of the requirements in a clear and easy to follow manual and the use of MP3 files to assist in studying so that our students are able to chant their way through the prayers and Torah portions with great fluency.

In addition, students will be meeting with Rabbi Shpeen or Rabbi Weitzman to discuss their d'var torah (sermon) and with Shara Siegfeld to plan their Mitzvah Project. The details for the entire Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah process are in our comprehensive manual

The Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah experience is an important milestone for teens and their families but it also can be a cause of stress for anyone. Through our well-organized program and caring staff, our program is designed to address students' needs so that they can achieve their personal potential. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cantor Kohn.

Background Information on Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah: 
The translation of Bar/Bat/B'nai is “son/daughter/children of the commandment.” 

Jewish law does not require children to follow the commandments, though they are encouraged to do so. At the age of 13 children become obligated to fulfill mitzvot. Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah is not an event, rather it is a change in status. While we may perceive thirteen to be in the midst of childhood, Jewish law allows B'nai Mitzvah to count in a minyan (the minimum number of people necessary for traditional religious practices), to form binding contracts, and to serve as a witness in religious courts.

A young person becomes Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah at their birthday; no ceremony is needed to confer adulthood. The celebration of Bar Mitzvah (a woman first celebrated her Bat Mitzvah in 1922) is fairly recent in Jewish history, dating back only five centuries. To show a community that a young man was now legally an adult, he would be called to recite the blessing before and after the reading of the Torah, a mitzvah and privilege reserved for adults. Over time, the ceremony was expanded to include the reading of the Haftarah, a selection from the book of Prophets. Because certain Hebrew and liturgical skills were required for this, the connection between B'nei Mitzvah and Jewish education arose.

Today it is the educational aspect, rather than reaching the age of majority, which is emphasized. At CBE, B’nai Mitzvah demonstrate their ability to lead services, read Torah, participate in Tikkun Olam ("repair the world" in Hebrew) & social action projects as well as teach their community.

Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah is not the endpoint of Jewish Education. We are all obligated to continue the study of Torah and the fulfillment of righteous deeds throughout our lives. B’nai Mitzvah celebrate their change in status and honor their new responsibility not only on the day of their ceremony but through ongoing commitments to our tradition and community.


During the Friday evening service of your Bar/Bat/B'nai Mitzvah, your child will be invited to light the Shabbat candles and recite the Kiddush/wine blessings. At the Saturday morning service, your child will be leading the congregation in prayer, and culminating in reciting the Torah and Haftarah portions.

We encourage you to use our beautiful temple facilities for your Saturday luncheon or celebration. Contact Kathy Golderman to secure the space.

B'nai Mitzvah Resources

The Art of Torah Cantillation – A Step-by-Step Guide to Chanting Torah by Cantor Marshall Portnoy and Cantor Josee Wolff

This unique, step-by-step book and compact disc package will lead the novice through each step of learning how to chant Torah. Divided into 13 lessons and additional useful appendices and bibliography, the book allows the reader to ‘self-teach’ the important principles of Torah cantillation. The only pre-requisite for this course of learning is a basic ability to read Hebrew and a willingness to learn! Includes CD of corresponding recordings.

Making it Count: Guidelines for Becoming a Bar/Bat/B'nei Mitzvah

This guide is designed to help you make the most of your Jewish journey. Focusing on the values that are most important in our tradition, you will explore together what commitments you can make to bring these principles to life. Judaism has a lot of special wisdom to offer, but only you can make it real.

Mon, May 27 2024 19 Iyar 5784