About B’nei Mitzvah
This life cycle event in the life of a
Jew and the process leading up to it is a transformative and significant
experience in the life of a Jewish adolescent and his/her family. Judaism
teaches much about community, and this ritual happens within our nurturing
Temple community as no one becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in isolation. While
invitations are commonly sent to guests, our entire community is welcome at all
religious services at Temple Beth Shalom.
It is important to remember
that one becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the daughter or son of the mitzvot or
commandments. As one ascends the bimah (raised platform) he or she begins the
process of becoming a Jewish adult and claiming his or her own relationship to
our ancient tradition. B’nei Mitzvah is a status that we retain throughout our
lives. The ceremonies of B’nei Mitzvah are not goals or ends in themselves.
Rather, they represent beginnings or first steps on the lifelong path of Jewish
responsibility. The service and celebration may last a few hours, but the
commitment is for the rest of our lives. It is our hope that each of our
children will become active members of the Jewish community not only of Needham;
but of the community of Israel throughout their lives.
questions regarding the learning that leads to becoming bar or bat mitzvah at Temple Beth Shalom, please contact Rabbi Michele Lenke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-444-0077.
Each of our students has the same basic requirements for
becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah regardless of gender. Among our goals is to
provide our young people with life-long skills that will be helpful as they take
on more responsibilities as adult Jews.
Parents of Our B’nei Mitzvah:
All of our
parents who have committed their children to Jewish learning of course play an
important role at this precious lifecycle moment. We therefore honor all parents
both Jewish and not, alongside their children for bringing their children into
the Jewish community. Jewish parents are asked to chant the traditional Hebrew
Torah blessings and our non-Jewish parents are invited to read a blessing in
English during the Torah service as well. All parental involvement in Jewish
education and participation in the temple community has the power to shape the
Jewish experiences in the lives of their children. Let us know what doors we can
help open for you.
dates: It has become our custom to assign B’nei Mitzvah dates during the
Fourth Grade year of each student. If you are new to our congregation and have a
child who has already finished Grade 4, please contact Rabbi Lenke so that we
can work together to find a date for your child.
Se’udah Shel Mitzvah: Though many refer to the
celebration at the conclusion of the B’nei Mitzvah service as a party, it is in
fact a mitzvah to celebrate the accomplishments of our children with a
celebratory meal. As you consider your plans for your child’s celebration, we
encourage you to take into consideration the unique qualities of your child.
Bigger is not necessarily better, and sometimes the more casual celebrations are
more appreciated by the child. For those families interested in holding your
reception at Temple Beth Shalom, please contact Sandy Hain, our Temple
Special Needs: It
is our goal to meet the educational needs of each and every Bar and Bat Mitzvah
candidate in our school. To help meet this goal, we are fortunate to have a
program called Lehiyot, which is geared for the students in our community with
particular learning issues that necessitate more individualized attention. All
of our Lehiyot students are prepared to lead the typical Shabbat morning
service, including reading from the Torah, the Haftarah portion as well as
delivering a D’var Torah, or teaching about their Torah portion.
If your child has unique learning needs, please contact our Director of Elementary Learning, at email@example.com or 781-444-0077, and she will be happy to arrange a meeting to learn more about your child and how we can best meet those needs.
These classes are open to non-Temple members as well for a
special fee, based on a space available basis. Please feel free to call the
Education Office at 781-444-0388, if you have any questions.