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At The Temple, becoming b'nei mitzvah symbolizes in Jewish terms the passing of the child’s intellectual, emotional and moral childhood to adolescence. This is celebrated by participation in the Shabbat evening and Shabbat morning services.

The recognition that each student is an individual of varying abilities and talents is taken into consideration in planning and designing the b'nei mitzvah ceremony. The student’s participation may vary from reciting a few blessings to conducting virtually the entire Shabbat morning service. The clergy will determine the level of participation during the private tutorials. The number of verses chanted in both Torah and Haftarah is also considered during this time. Each ceremony is special, as each student offers his or her own unique gifts.

The B'nei Mitzvah Program at the Temple

The b'nei mitzvah celebration is an ancient tradition that represents a significant milestone in the life of a Jewish adult. In order to insure this process continues to anchor the path of lifelong Jewish learning, The Temple has developed a formal program with requirements before one can undertake this celebration.

The mission of this program is very simple: We want to foster mature, loving, and committed Jews. It should not be seen as a burden, but rather as a structure within which we can support each of our families as they reach this important life cycle event.  

We encourage you to review our B'nei Mitzvah Handbook, which includes all details of how this celebration is observed at The Temple. You may also schedule a meeting to discuss the b'nei mitzvah program with Rabbi Steven H. Rau or Cantor Tracey Scher

History of the B'nei Mitzvah

Although the origins of the term bar mitzvah go back approximately two thousand years, the ceremony itself appeared around the Middle Ages. A boy aged thirteen was considered a full member of the religious community and was given an aliyah (to go up) to the bimah (pulpit) and share in the Torah service. It symbolized the teen’s entry into responsible Jewish living in the community.

Though the Talmud teaches that girls had a legal responsibility to observe mitzvoth beginning at the age of twelve, it was not until the 20th century that some families started celebrating the girl’s new status with festivity. The first bat mitzvah ceremony in North America was that of Judith Kaplan Eisenstein’s, the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionism.

While the usual age is thirteen, there is no maximum age limit. Over the past few decades, an increasingly common practice is the adult b'nei mitzvah ceremony. This is less a celebration of one’s coming of age, and instead affirms Jewish identity for those Jews who did not have a bar or bat mitzvah as children.

Celebrating Your B'nei Mitzvah at the Temple

If you are interested in having any part of your b'nei mitzvah celebration at The Temple, click here for more information. Many families host Shabbat dinners, Kiddush luncheons, and evening celebrations in our beautiful Schwartz-Goldstein Hall.  

Preparing for Your B'nei Mitzvah at the Temple

We work with each student and their family to make sure they are ready for their milestone event. Our b'nei mitzvah handbook has information about our timeline and process, tutoring times and locations, our mitzvah program and more.
We also offer parent-to-parent support from our B'nei Mitzvah Committee as a part of the Breman Education Center Committee. This effort is chaired by Michelle Merrick-Davis. Feel free to email her and learn how you can get involved or to ask questions. 

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyar 5784