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“May you live to see your world fulfilled, may you be our link to future worlds, and may your hope encompass all the generations to be. May your heart conceive with understanding, may your mouth speak wisdom and your tongue be stirred with sounds of joy. May your gaze be straight and sure, your eyes be lit with Torah’s lamp, your face aglow with heaven’s radiance, your lips expressing words of knowledge, and your inner self alive with righteousness. And may you always rush in eagerness to hear the words of One more ancient than all time.” -Talmud.
This handbook is designed to help and guide you through this awesome experience.
Congratulations on your upcoming Bar or Bat mitzvah! One of the most significant events in Jewish life is when someone becomes Bar/Bat Mitzvah; it is the moment when he/she will join the Jewish people as an adult. But what does it really mean?
Students do not “have” a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, they become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.The Talmud teaches us that at the age of 13 a young adult is ready to understand and accept adult responsibilities within the Jewish community (to accept and follow the commandments) and is ready to follow his Yetzer Hatov (good inclination). Judaism recognizes and celebrates the ability of Bar/Bat Mitzvah age children to choose between good and evil, to overcome their desire for temptations and to be able to look past their own needs for the needs of others. This is the time for B’nai mitzvah students to affirm that,“ YES,” they are part of the conversation, they are important and they have meaningful things to say and do as Jews. We as a congregation are ready to hear their voice. Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies brings us closer to God, closer to Judaism, closer to our people and closer to ourselves. It means a commitment to continue to learn and grow in a Jewish way.
A child is getting a “driver license, not a diploma, Jewish learning is lifelong learning and living a rich Jewish life.” UAHC “Making it count”
Through the experience of our B’nai Mitzvah years in 6th and 7th grades, our students will discuss challenging questions and will be caring for people, animals and the earth through special mitzvah projects. Questioning is a central religious and spiritual act of the Jewish people. Asking questions that are thoughtful and insightful will lead to deep understanding as the students choose to make Judaism a part of their everyday lives. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions about their faith as they blossom into Jewish adults, such as: does God exist, why evil exists, why we pray, etc. (for more information, see the new B’nai mitzvah curriculum on the website). Our prayer is that through the process of becoming a Bat or Bar Mitzvah our students will love Judaism and Jewish tradition and will be and active part of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), healing humanity and the earth to make our world a better place.
Goals of the Beth-El B’nai Mitzvah Program
· To instill a thirst for Jewish knowledge and to inspire students to adopt Judaism (God, Torah and Israel) as their personal way of life.
· To encourage the practice of the Mitzvot of Torah, Avodah (service), and Gimilut Chasadim (acts of loving -kindness).
· To be able to lead the congregation in prayer and to understand and explain the meaning of prayers.
“I continue to seek God because I know this is the human task. I seek, because in that search there is life, and light, and meaning and even joy.”
Rabbi David Wolpe