Becoming an Adult in the Jewish Community
The passage of a young person from the status of child to Jewish adult is celebrated with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Bar/Bat Mitzvah literally means “son/daughter of the commandments” and occurs on a Shabbat close to the child’s 13th birthday. In Reform Judaism, we mark this time as a blessed and celebratory event. On the occasion of one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the student takes great pride in leading parts of the Shabbat service, being called to and reading from the Torah, and chanting the Haftarah portion.
At Congregation Shalom, significant study and preparation usher a child into the adult Jewish community. Before beginning the six month intensive study process coordinated by Cantor Berman, students typically have attended formal Hebrew School and religious school classes. Religious School and Hebrew School participation is a pre-requisite for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, as is congregational membership. During the intensive study, Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidates will meet weekly with Cantor Berman and tutors, and in addition, students will study with the rabbis.
Dates for Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies are assigned during the student’s fourth grade year. Dates are available for new members by contacting Abby Habush Schroeder, Director of Synagogue Relations at [email protected] or at (414) 352-9288.
The B’nei Mitzvah Handbook provides detailed information on all aspects of the process. Click here to download the Handbook. To request a hardcopy, contact [email protected]
We encourage our B'nei Mitzvah students to engage in a Mitzvah Project as part of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience. Click here for the Mitzvah Maker Handbook that provides guidance regarding selecting a project. Use the form on page 12 to describe your project and send the form to David Wolfson for review and approval. To complete the on-line Mitzvah Maker Project Description form, click here. Projects can be tailor made to fit particular interests. There are many wonderful organizations that are always looking for assistance. Mitzvah Makers is open to all Bar and Bat Mitzvah students. To complete your project, click here for the on-line version of the Project Results Form or go to page 13 of the Handbook for the form you can print. When the form is filled out, please send it to David Wolfson c/o Congregation Shalom.
Those who complete their Mitzvah Maker project will receive a certificate on their Bar/Bat Mitzvah day and a donation of double chai ($36) will be made in their honor to the organization they have helped. The child's name and organization is also placed on the Mitzvah Maker plaque located in the Eder Education Wing that was designed by artist Mimi Stephen.
Mitzvah Makers Inspirational Story
Young Shalom member Arin Hirsch really hit the ball out of the park with her Mitzvah Makers project. Read the full story here.