Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guide:
TEN - Simha Planning
Sanctuary, Invitations, Classmates, Gifts, Gratitude
Temple Israel Sanctuary
The Weissman/Davis Sanctuary in Temple Israel has seating for 450 people and is fully handicapped accessible including the bima. We are fortunate to anticipate that our regular Shabbat morning congregation will number at least 100. If two children are becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah on the same Shabbat morning, these numbers will be particularly relevant.
Please indicate the correct starting time for services on your invitation. In this way your guests will be seated well before your child starts, thus eliminating a potential source of distraction.
The address of Temple Israel is: 125 Pond Street, Sharon, MA 02067
Invitation wordings such as "when David is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah" or "to celebrate with Rachel as she becomes a Bat Mitzvah" are preferable to phrases such as "Rachel's Bat Mitzvah" or "when David is Bar Mitzvahed." The point here is that Bar/Bat Mitzvah is not a verb. It is a noun and should refer specifically to the child.
It is inappropriate to place directions to a hotel or function hall anywhere in the Temple. Instead, if directions are required, they should be included, along with directions to Temple Israel, in the invitations to your guests. Prepared directions to Temple Israel are available in PDF form (two per page) (three per page) for your convenience.
Inviting Your Child's Classmates
There is an important synagogue policy that promotes sensitivity and goodwill within the community. It is appropriate to invite all of your child's Religious School classmates to attend the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration. It is very hurtful for children to be left out when invitations are sent. We all know how our child would feel if left out and we don't want to inflict such pain on another child. So as not to cause a financial burden, this policy extends to the children in your child's class, not, of course, the entire grade. Basic human decency dictates this approach. We know that you will do what is right and what will make this celebration truly a simha for everyone.
The Congregation, its Arms, and Youth Community will give each Bar/Bat Mitzvah child a gift. An officer of the Congregation will present these gifts to your child at the end of the service. Please remind your child that it is appropriate to write thank you notes to these organizations just as he/she will do for all other gifts received.
If you are asked by friends or relatives to suggest a gift for your child, or if you are wondering what gift to give to another child who is becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you might consult the Sisterhood's Walter Family Judaica Shop or one of the Jewish book stores in the Greater Boston area. It is particularly appropriate to give a gift with Jewish significance at such a religiously meaningful time. Reminder: Please inform your guests that it is inappropriate to bring gifts to the Temple on Shabbat or Yom Tov.
To commemorate life-cycle events, it is proper to make a donation to tzedakah (charity). You may accomplish this by contributing to one of Temple Israel's many funds, by dedicating a Lev Shalem Machzor, by purchasing a leaf on the Tree of Life, or by making a donation to one of the synagogue's funds or scholarships. We also encourage each child to make a tzedakah donation from the gifts that he/she receives. To arrange for making a suitable donation, please contact the office.
After Your Celebration
Finally, please remember that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is the continuation of a growing process for your child and your family. The values which are acquired through preparing for religious responsibility have their greatest impact in the years which follow this event. You should make it a point to attend services with your child, to take part in Temple activities, and to enroll your child in our youth program and the Temple Israel High School Program, the Prozdor at Hebrew College, or Jewish high school. You can be certain that your family will always be warmly welcomed.
The leadership of the Congregation, both lay and professional, are committed to making the Bar/Bat Mitzvahexperience at Temple Israel meaningful and memorable for you, your child, and your friends and family. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these topics, please do not hesitate to call the Rabbi, the Cantor, the Executive Director or the President.
May you and your family be blessed with continued nachas from each other!