Bar/Bat Mitzvah Dates: 2018

Dear Parents,

Although you may not believe it, it is now the time to make Bar/Bat Mitzvah assignments for the 5778-5779 (2018) calendar year. We have many children to accommodate, but we will continue to afford you flexibility in choice of dates. Please let us know your four preferred choices for date and use of facilities. Please fill out the online form below by January 5, 2016.

The celebration of a Bat or Bar Mitzvah is more than a family affair: it is a critical moment of identity with the community and with the entire Jewish people. It is for that reason that we encourage families to celebrate this lifecycle moment in the context of the entire congregation, during Shabbat morning services. Beginning with regular attendance in synagogue as preparation and culminating with the aliyah (being called up to the Torah) in front of the community, by having the event take place when the breadth of the community is present, the whole process is deepened and enriched. Obviously for various reasons some families will opt for an alternative time for their celebration; that is their choice and we are happy to make Saturday evenings a time of commitment and meaning. Even so, we would encourage those celebrating on Saturday evenings to think about ways to make the Bar or Bat Mitzvah occasion a way to connect with community as well. I would be happy to talk with any of you about such opportunities.

Please be aware of these guidelines in choosing your dates:

  1. Boys may not celebrate a Bar Mitzvah until their 13th birthday on the Jewish calendar. Girls become B'not Mitzvah, responsible for the commandments, at the age of 12 years and 1 day. For that reason, Bat Mitzvah celebrations can be scheduled no earlier than age 12. However, since we at Temple Israel educate with an egalitarian approach to Judaism, we encourage you to keep girls' celebrations to the same year as their male counterparts – also at age 13. Again, the final choice is yours. Please consult the letter you received for date eligibility.
  2. As you choose a date you should be guided primarily by your child's birthday. However, some dates may be unavailable due to vacations or other Jewish calendar or synagogue needs. We will try to accommodate requests but will not be able to in all cases. (Mid-July to late August and Presidents' Day weekend are generally unavailable. Other holiday weekends may also present problems, but will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you make such a request, please be aware that there may be a delay in confirming your date.)
  3. Occasionally lifecycle events intrude even into the lives of synagogue clergy. We will endeavor to minimize this possibility, but under rare circumstances our plans may change for a given date. There will always be clergy present for B'nai Mitzvah.
  4. Please indicate whether you wish to have a party at the synagogue. Please be aware that there may be dates when parties cannot take place. Families celebrating their Shabbat morning simcha (festive occasion) will have first right of refusal for our facilities at lunch. During the evening they will also have first right of refusal to use Berger and Founders Halls for any celebration. If the facilities are available, families celebrating a mincha/ma'ariv (afternoon/evening prayer) Bat or Bar Mitzvah will be able to make use of Berger or Founders Hall.
  5. If you have reason to postpone a date into 2019, please do not fill out the form. Instead, reply to this email letting us know that you have chosen to do so and let us know why.

I cannot guarantee that your requests will be honored. However, I do make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs, so please be clear on your online request.

I know we all look forward to your child's simcha. Please be in touch soon, and I look forward to seeing you in synagogue!

(An early) mazal tov,

Rabbi Ron Fish