B’nai Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah students are moving from childhood to adulthood, from learning to be responsible to being responsible. As son or daughter of the commandments, you commit yourself to be membership in our ancient people. Please contact the Rabbi’s Assistant,¬†Barbara Holstein, with any questions.

Scheduling a Date
Date scheduling is done automatically for all children of Temple members. Dates are assigned early in the calendar year (usually in January or February) for children who will reach the age of 13 two years later. Dates are assigned strictly in order of children’s birth dates. If you have a child who will become of Bar or Bat Mitzvah age, you need to enroll them in the religious school before we can assign a date.

Shared or Double B’nai Mitzvah
Because we are blessed with so many children, there is occasionally a need to schedule two B’nai Mitzvahs at the same service. These double services have worked out well in the past. At a double ceremony, the children have the same opportunity to do virtually the same amount of reading or chanting as they would in a single ceremony. The families also are afforded the same number of honors.

Special Requests Regarding Dates
In order to be fair to all, we initially assign dates strictly in the manner described above. For a number of reasons, a family might desire to change their assigned date. We will consider any request for a change and try to accommodate it, if possible. We can also offer the alternative of scheduling a limited number of Bar or Bat Mitzvah services at the late Saturday afternoon Mincha service or in our traditional minyan during the Saturday morning 9am Chapel service. Each option has its own distinctive style and feel. Please understand that we are blessed with many more children than we have available Saturday mornings. A change of Saturdays will require the agreement of another family.

Bar or Bat Mitzvah Preparation
The Music Director meets with the sixth grade classes weekly to teach prayers and blessings for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. Approximately ten months in advance of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, Cantor Idan Irelander will meet with the family to discuss the training process and to schedule regular lessons. Students begin training at that point, generally for the first three months with a Tutor from the Religious School and then with the Officiant at their service for the remainder of the time leading up to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Through most of the process, lessons take place once a week for approximately 15 minutes. During the final four weeks of preparation, lessons expand to one hour. Weekly meetings with the Rabbi are added at that time to work on the writing of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech. Each student is expected to learn to chant a brief portion from the Torah with its blessings. They also are expected to chant approximately 10-15 verses from the Haftorah with its blessings. They will lead a portion of the service, mostly in English, but some in Hebrew. Those who wish and are capable of doing so, can expand their participation

Scheduling Your Reception Plans
Families often choose to have a reception after their child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The Temple is available to families on a first come, first serve basis. In November of your child’s 6th grade year in Religious School, they will attend a “Kallah” (meeting). At this meeting, a detailed packet is given out regarding the responsibilities of a child and their family surrounding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This includes a Temple fee schedule and contract, as well as a list of caterers and bands often used by other congregants. If you would like to discuss your reception plans prior to receiving your packet, simply call the temple office.

Click here to download Temple Emanuel B’nai Mitzvah Guide