Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guide: TWO - Educational Preparation And Religious Requirements
1. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidate must be a Day School student in good standing or be a student in our Religious School having completed the Vov (6th grade) class with regular attendance. All Bar/Bat Mitzvah students must be enrolled in a recognized Jewish education program during the year of their preparation and must complete the year after their Bar/Bat Mitzvah has taken place. We urge our students to continue their Jewish education thereafter in our High School Program or at a Day School High School. Prozdor of Hebrew College is another option. Prozdor's policy is to accept students from our Synagogue only after completion of the 7th grade.
2. In preparation for his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a child is generally expected to learn to:
- chant the blessings over the Torah for an aliyah
- chant the Haftarah and its blessings
- read a portion of the Torah
- prepare a brief D'var Torah on the subject of his/her Torah portion
- lead a portion of the service, particularly one that will have regular application throughout their Jewish lives
3. It is important to remember that Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons are generally scheduled in addition to, not in place of, regular Religious School classes.
It is absolutely necessary that lesson materials be reviewed at home. To be successful, attention to study and progress must involve the parents as well as the children. Parents are invited to attend group and individual lessons. Should students be insufficiently prepared to begin lessons or should they be regularly unprepared with assignments, extra tutorial assistance with an authorized tutor may be recommended at parental expense.
4. It cannot be overstated that attendance at services helps to prepare not only the child, but the entire family for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience. If you are familiar with the pace and content of the service on the day of your celebration, then the service will be personal and meaningful. Through Dalet class, we urge all children to attend our various youth services. In the 12 months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, each student is required to attend Shabbat and Festivals regularly; at a minimum, he or she must attend 13 services, at least 10 of which must be on Shabbat morning at Temple Israel. Attendance may be recorded by the student and monitored by an appropriate teacher and/or the clergy.
5. The 16 to 20 month Bar/Bat Mitzvah educational process culminates prior to the actual event with a rehearsal in the Sanctuary. Both student and parents must attend, and other family members, who may have been asked to participate, may also attend. In this way it is assured that all participants will be comfortable on the bima. Photos and video may be taken at this time. This Rehearsal/Photo Session is arranged with the clergy.