B’Mitzvah (formerly known as B’nei Mitzvah)
In our ever-changing world, our language sometimes changes to respond to the needs of our community. With more and more young people experiencing gender fluidity and non-binary gender identities, we find that the traditional terms “Bar Mitzvah,” “Bat Mitzvah,” and “B’nei Mitzvah” sometimes don’t fit. Therefore, we have adopted the term “B’Mitzvah” in order to give each of our young people the flexibility to explore how they want to express their coming-of-age identity in an authentically Jewish way, gently guided by our rabbi.
What hasn’t changed is that becoming Jewishly responsible and accepting the commandments of our tradition is an important part of the Jewish life cycle. Congregation Shalom offers a program of education and training to help our youth celebrate this significant milestone in the context of a small congregation with a flexible curriculum that takes into account each individual’s strengths and interests. Our rabbi works 1:1 with each B’Mitzvah candidate, preparing the B’Mitzvah in a way that is meaningful to the child and family, nurturing an interest in Jewish life that will last long beyond the ceremony.
B’Mitzvah students are fully integrated into the Congregation Shalom family. This ensures that, through the preparation for the service and ceremony, the child comes to recognize the value of community in the life cycle experience.
- B’Mitzvah candidates must be Jewish and at least 13 years old. Some small leeway may be possible on a case-by-case basis in consultation with Rabbi Goldstein.
- The candidates’ families must be members-in-good-standing of Congregation Shalom and have been members for at least six months prior to the ceremony
- Scheduling of the date and Torah portion must be made at least six months in advance with the consent of Rabbi Goldstein.
- Studies in preparation for the service shall be coordinated with Congregation Shalom and/or a personal tutor if necessary.
- There is a B’Mitzvah fee of $1,000 per child to cover tutoring, preparation of materials, printing of service bulletin, and challah and wine for Friday night kiddush. The fee will be invoiced to the family six months prior to the B’Mitzvah date; it must be paid in full before the B’Mitzvah date.
- Candidates shall be deemed well-prepared and ready for the ceremony at the discretion of Rabbi Goldstein.
- Our B’Mitzvah feel most comfortable leading the service when they feel they are “at home” and among friends. We want them not only to feel that they are a valued member of the Congregation (which they are!), but we also want them to feel very comfortable with the Shabbat service. To that end, candidates and their parent(s) are encouraged to attend all regular Shabbat services and festival services; they are required to attend Congregation Shalom services at least twice per month during the six months leading up to the ceremony.
- The B’Mitzvah ceremony shall be conducted as a regular Congregation Shalom service, open to all congregants in addition to the friends/family of the candidate. Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, the B’Mitzvah ceremony will take place at a Shabbat morning service (Saturday). The family of the B’Mitzvah is invited to participate in the Shabbat Evening (Friday night) service preceding the ceremony as well.
- Any Oneg Shabbat, Kiddush, meal, or reception immediately following the ceremony shall include all congregants. Parents are encouraged to include all friends and family of the candidates but to avoid lavish, extravagant receptions or displays.
Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Chair of Congregation Shalom, in consultation with Rabbi Lisa Goldstein.