B’nai Mitzvah

Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation is arranged in consultation with Rabbi/Cantor Anne Heath. We currently have two to seven B’nai Mitzvah celebrations per year. In order to foster class community and mutual learning, we schedule B’nai Mitzvah celebrations in either May or June, at the end of seventh grade, rather than immediately after a student’s 13th birthday.

INDIVIDUAL PREPARATION
Rabbi Heath works with students on an individual basis throughout the year on a schedule and at a location mutually agreeable to her, the student and the student’s family.

If parents feel that their student would benefit from the services of a tutor/coach, Rabbi Heath has an available list of those familiar with our program who would be able to assist them.  Our program is designed so that, normally, a tutor/coach is not required.

Students, their parents and Rabbi Heath work together to develop a meaningful Mitzvah Project for each student. These vary in length and intensity, but our goal is to help instill good habits of tzedakah (responsible giving) and gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness) in our students throughout their years in school – not just during their Bnai Mitzvah year.

WORSHIP REQUIREMENTS
A key part of preparation for becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah is acquiring familiarity with Jewish worship – not from a book or in a class – but by actually doing it. All Religious School students have worship participation requirements. In 7th Grade students are expected to participate at Shabbat Rishona monthly services and at least one (preferably) more additional Shabbat morning service each month.

BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY
Preparing students for Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations all too often becomes the primary reason for which parents chose to become members of a synagogue. In order to discourage this practice at Congregation Agudath Achim, our Religious School policy is that student’s need to have completed fourth through seventh grades at our school in order to be fully prepared to be afforded the privilege of celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah as part of our community.

Parents in special circumstances may speak with Rabbi Heath about their situation.  Rabbi Heath will discuss it with both the Membership Committee Chairperson and the Religious School Committee Chairperson to determine what might be arranged.

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