Contact: Susan Simon
Starting in 5th grade at Bet Sefer, our students spend a significant amount of time learning the prayers that they will lead for their B’nai Mitzvah ceremony. By the time the students have completed 6th grade they are able to lead both the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service as well as the Saturday morning Torah and Musaf services.
This practice serves two functions: the obvious one, preparation for their ceremonies, and the more important one, prayer literacy that will remain with them their entire lives. This literacy ensures that as teens and adults they will always feel like they belong to any Jewish community they attend. They will have the skills needed to feel like an insider and to continue their Jewish learning.
For the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony, students prepare a Haftarah and Torah portion with private tutors, learning both tropes and learning how to apply those melodies to the particular parasha to be read on their ceremony date. The students also research and write a d’var Torah which they deliver to the congregation on this special day.
Does my family have to be members of Temple Beth Abraham in order for my child to have a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony there?
YES, we consider that a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony welcomes a child into our community, so you must be part of our community to hold your ceremony here.
Does my child have to attend religious school at Temple Beth Abraham in order to have a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony there?
If your child is currently attending a Jewish day school, then your child does not have to attend our religious school program until 7th grade, at which point it is required that your child join our program. If your child does not attend a Jewish day school, then attendance here is a requirement. Students must attend religious school for a minimum of 3 years – starting in the 5th grade. However, it is highly recommended that your child start religious school as early as possible so as to gain the greatest benefit from our program and to feel a part of our community. Note: almost all day school families choose to send their 6th grader to the t’fillah classes in addition to 7th grade.
How does my child get prepared for their Haftarah and Torah readings?
In religious school, your child will learn the prayers that they will lead, and with a private tutor (which we will help you find) they will learn the two tropes (cantillations), and their Haftarah and Torah readings. We recommend your child starts studying with a tutor 12-15 months before the date of the ceremony.