15727 NE 4th Street • Bellevue, WA 98008 • (425) 603-9677

How Do We Prepare for Our Child's B'nai Mitzvah?

B’nai Mitzvah is one of many milestones along an individual’s Jewish Journey.  The words Bar/Bat Mitzvah literally mean son/daughter of the commandments.  It is a fundamental rite of passage, not only for the young student called to the Torah but for his or her family.  The experience of Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be spiritually uplifting – it can be transformative by  deepening the entire family’s  knowledge, understanding and connection to Judaism and TBT.  Temple B’nai Torah strives to partner with each family to help make the B’nai Mitzvah (B’nai is the plural) observance a meaningful stepping stone towards the family’s ongoing commitment to Judaism and each individual’s Jewish Journey. 

Our goal is for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to become educated about Judaism’s ethics, traditions, and to feel comfortable in our synagogue’s activities.  Historically, Bar and Bat Mitzvah is the ceremonial occasion that marks the time when a young person is recognized as an adult in the Jewish community and is responsible for performing mitzvot (the commandments of the Torah).  At Temple B’nai Torah, the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony takes place within our regularly scheduled Shabbat morning (Shacharit) worship service.

To enable you to focus on the most important spiritual elements of this very special simcha, the staff of Temple B’nai Torah works with you on the many different aspects of the occasion. During this time of COVID-19, TBT clergy will be working with B’nai Mitzvah parents to plan a Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony that takes into account the needs of each family and the safety of all those involved.

Rabbi Molly Weisel oversees B’nai Mitzvah training.  All specific questions regarding training and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony should be discussed directly with her. The process of preparing to be a B’nai Mitzvah begins early at Temple B’nai Torah.  We expect our youth to have attended and successfully complete four (4) years of Hebrew and Judaic studies, either at our Religious School or in another program that is approved by our clergy. Each student must complete 6th grade and be registered for and attend our Temple’s 7th grade class sessions.

Every student, as part of the Sunday morning curriculum, during the 2nd half of their 6th grade year takes a class taught by Rabbi Molly.  This class includes instruction in the philosophy of B’nai Mitzvah, the mechanics of the service and proficiency in reciting/chanting the prayers. In addition to these classes, Rabbi Molly arranges appropriate private lessons with her and/or the Temple’s tutors.   As the date of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah approaches, the student will meet with clergy for 6-8 sessions to prepare the D’var Torah.  The Gemilut Chasadim Mitzvah Projects will be developed as part of the Shabbat morning 7th grade Torah class and monitored by our facilitator.

As we stated in our “Philosophy”, preparation for Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a working partnership among the student, the family and the leadership of Temple B’nai Torah.  Your involvement in the training process and in connecting more closely with the Temple community during this period is crucial. 

In January of the 6th grade year, you will participate in a one session B’nai Mitzvah class.  This is to enhance parental understanding of the details of the B’nai Mitzvah service and to build relationships among parents going through the experience in the same year.  This class takes place on the first week that your student begins their Sunday sessions with Rabbi Molly.

Topics covered in parent component of B’nai Mitzvah Orientation:

  1. B’nai Mitzvah is a milestone for the entire family
  2. Interfaith, Multifaith and Other Jewish Family Issues
  3. Planning a Meaningful Party
  4. Writing your Divrei Kodesh

* Class is mandatory for all families