B'nei Mitzvah Guidelines

  1. The commitment to Jewish education is very important to us at Temple Beth Am. Students must be enrolled in religious school for a minimum of three years prior to the year of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. As the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is only a milestone to Jewish adulthood and not a graduation from religious education, all students are expected to finish the year with their 7th grade classes, regardless of when in the school year their ceremony occurs.
     
  2. Pirkei Avot 1:6 (Ethics of the Fathers) tells us, “Make for yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every person favorably.” Personal relationships with peers is crucial to spiritual and intellectual growth, equally as important to the learning that happens at home and in the classroom. Some of the best bonding moments happen at informal activities, retreats, and field trips; as such all of our students are strongly encouraged to participate in our youth programs.

    Temple Beth Am has three vibrant youth groups: JAMTY for grades 9-12, JAMTY Jr. for grades 6-8 and Cochavim for grades 3-5.  All of our youth groups are part of the North American Federation for Temple Youth Programs (NFTY). NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement, all rooted in Reform Judaism. Our inclusive community fosters deep connections, pursues Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), builds personal growth and explores Jewish values and traditions. 
     
  3. Temple Beth Am, in concert with our Jewish heritage, considers becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to be an important landmark in a child’s journey toward becoming an educated adult - not the final destination. Therefore, any child who becomes Bar/Bat Mitzvah is making a commitment to continue their Jewish education through graduation from 12th grade.


     
  4. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a significant milestone in the Jewish lifecycle of not just the child, but the entire family. In order to make this a positive and meaningful process for everyone, families and students must attend all B’nei-Mitzvah related family programming beginning in 4th grade.
     
  5. Part of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is being comfortable in a synagogue setting. Since the student will be leading the entire Service, attending Services regularly will allow them to become fluent through active participation.  Therefore, we ask that students and their families attend four Friday night Services in the year prior to their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. We encourage fulfillment of this requirement through attendance at the Family Shabbat Experience. We also encourage students and their parents to attend the B’nei Mitzvah Services of their classmates and friends, both to support their peers and get comfortable with the Service and setting.
     
  6. Practice is the key to Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation. Our experience has shown that the most successful students are those who practice every day rather than “cramming” immediately before their lessons. Beginning six months before Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students are encouraged to practice 30 minutes five times a week between lessons.


     
  7. All B’nei Mitzvah families are asked to usher twice at a Shabbat morning B’nei Mitzvah Service during their seventh grade year.
     
  8. Bar/Bat Mitzvah is only open to members of Temple Beth Am.
     
  9. In the spirit of sharing and inclusion, we strongly encourage all of our Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to invite their entire class to their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.
     
  10. As part of doing Tikkun Olam, all students are asked to complete a mitzvah project as an expression of their readiness to take on the lifelong Jewish responsibilities and obligations of social justice and action. Through the project, students will fulfill various mitzvot in the home and synagogue, as well as a service project to benefit a community organization. Staff will work with the families through this process in the sixth grade, and it is expected that students will have completed the project by the date of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.