The journey to becoming a bar/bat mitzvah includes the first steps your child will take toward instilling their commitment to sustaining the world. May this be a fulfilling step on your child’s and your family’s Jewish journey and may your ties to the Jewish community and Jewish tradition be strengthened by it.
At B’nai Jeshurun, this journey officially begins when a child is in third grade and continues through and beyond the child’s thirteenth birthday. Your child’s bar/bat mitzvah is an affirmation of your family’s commitment to Jewish community and education. It is an exhilarating moment in a journey of learning, spiritual growth and commitment to mitzvot. You will discover the rewards of recognizing your child’s steps from childhood towards maturity within the context of a committed Jewish life. And it is holy for us as a community to support and celebrate this transformation with you.
“Both my son and my daughter attended Hebrew School and became b’nai mitzvah at BJ. It was a very enriching and satisfying experience for us all.”— BJ Member
Shabbat Family Learning Programs
Starting in the spring of fourth grade and continuing throughout sixth grade, all pre-b’nai mitzvah children and their parents are invited to attend special Family Learning Programs for their specific grade. In addition to building familiarity with the b’nai mitzvah process, you will have the opportunity to engage in Torah study with the Rabbis and educators as you learn more about this rite of passage. This is also a very special time for you and your child to learn with his or her community of peers.
Fifth Grade Overnight
All fifth graders attend an overnight at the synagogue in late winter/early spring, beginning with a Havdalah ceremony. Here, students will have an opportunity to get to know each other while engaging in fun activities that promote community-building, learning, worship and social action.
Sixth Grade Retreat
Each spring, sixth graders will attend a weekend long B’nai Mitzvah Retreat. Throughout Shabbat and the weekend students will have a great time bonding while participating in learning, worship and social action opportunities with educators and a rabbi.
Morning Minyan for B’nai Mitzvah Families
Morning minyan is a wonderful opportunity for students and parents to fulfill the mitzvah of wrapping tefillin, practice the structure of Shaharit (the morning service), ask questions, feel comfortable praying, and schmooze with other b’nai mitzvah families. In addition to attending morning minyan the week of your child’s bar/bat mitzvah, we hope you’ll keep in mind that morning minyan takes place every day at BJ, and is an important time to be both counted as a Jewish adult in the community as well as to support others in our congregation who are relying on a quorum of ten to recite the Kaddish for loved ones
The experience of attending morning minyan is enriched by sharing it with other families who are on this journey as well. However, since it may be difficult for some families to attend a weekday morning minyan, we will designate a few Sunday morning minyans to which b’nai mitzvah families will be encouraged to attend.
Upcoming B'nai Mitzvah Events
Friday, December 13 | 6:00PM | 89th Street Gym
Families with children in elementary and middle school are invited to join Rabbi Felicia Sol and Hazzan Ari Priven in welcoming Shabbat at our family-friendly Friday night service. The service will last about an hour, followed by dinner at 89th Street. Register online for the dinner, and contact Kristen at x260 with questions or dietary needs.
Saturday, January 11 | 5:00-7:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary
Treating everyone with respect is an essential Jewish value that comes from the idea that we’re all made in God’s image, Betzelem Elohim. Take a look at the mitzvot that stem from this value with Hilary Schumer, and then participate in the Special Needs Havdalah, which is led by Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein and Hazzan Ari Priven. The Havdalah service is designed to be sensitive to children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, and is inclusive for all who attend. Register online; space is limited. This event is for fifth and sixth grade students and families.
Tuesday, December 10, or Monday, December 16 | 6:00-9:00PM | 88th Street
Many of you have cooked for our shelter guests, but few have had the honor of hosting them during dinner. Educators Blair Nosan or Natalie Sela will meet you at 6:00PM to lead a discussion about the mitzvah of Hakhnassat Orhim, Welcoming Guests, before you serve our guests at 7:00PM. Each Mitzvah Moment is limited to two families in order to respect our guests’ space; we’ll continue to offer it throughout the year to make widely available. Register online for December 10 or December 16. This event is for fifth and sixth grade students and families.