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B'nei Mitzvah

In the Havurah Shalom community, we enact our mission through values such as inclusivity, respect, participation, Torah, lovingkindness, sustainability, and transparency. The goals of the program we have developed for youth to become b’nei mitzvah are expressions of these same values:

  • to make the preparation for b’nei mitzvah Jewishly meaningful
  • to help families and children develop deeper connections within the Havurah community
  • to provide some consistency across family experience
  • to help maintain Havurah culture and values of participation and community investment

Expectations

The three-year cohort program begins when youth are of fifth grade age. The expectations are:

Grade 5 Families

  • Participation in Shabbat School (or equivalent if Shabbat School is not appropriate for family for specific reasons; determined by Education Director and Rabbi)
  • Participation in two “Discovering Shabbat” morning services or equivalent


Grade 6 Families

  • Participation in Shabbat School (or equivalent if Shabbat School is not appropriate for family for specific reasons; determined by Education Director and Rabbi)
  • Participation in monthly Shabbat Morning Services
  • Participation in parent or family workshops, such as “Whose B’nei Mitzvah is it Anyway?”


Grade 7 Families

  • Participation in all of Middle School or, at least, b’nei mitzvah cohort classes (4-5 in autumn)
  • Participation in b’nei mitzvah related parent or family workshops
  • Attendance at cohort b’nei mitzvah
  • Participation in or leading a Torah service prior to their own b’nei mitzvah

Questions?

If you have questions about the commitment that families are required to make before their child embarks on the b'nei mitzvah process or other questions related to b'nei mitzvah planning, please contact the appropriate person listed below:

  • Date selection or changes, participation expectations, general questions, and support for the b’nei mitzvah journey – Amanda Coffey, B’nei Mitzvah Committee Chair
  • Grade 5 Families – Deborah Eisenbach-Budner, Education Director
  • Grade 6 Families – Adela Basayne, Program Director
  • Grade 7 Families – Rabbi Benjamin (especially related to the B’nei Mitzvah Service and tutors)
  • Mitzvah Project/Tikkun Olam Project – Laura Orgel, B’nei Mitzvah Committee Member
  • Facility Use & Logistics – Rachel Pollak, Office & Facilities Manager

For any questions related to family dynamics and learning needs, contact Deborah Eisenbach-Budner or Rabbi Benjamin.

B'nei Mitzvah Committee

Chaired by Amanda Coffey, the B'nei Mitzvah Committee helps arrange Havurah's b'nei mitzvah process. This includes collaborating with staff members to provide the workshops listed below, to create and maintain materials and resources, and to support families during the three-year journey. Committee members are Michael Evans, Julie Hastings, Judy Herzberg, Laura Orgel, Chari Smith, and Abigail Webb. 

B’nei Mitzvah Workshops for 2021-22

B’nei Mitzvah Cohort

Youths being called to the Torah this year will build community and ask, “What does being Jewish and becoming bar, bat, or b’nei mitzvah mean to me?” Led by Rabbi Benjamin. 6:45-8 pm, Wednesdays, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27

B’nei Mitzvah Planning Logistics

Planning and setup at Havurah. A walk through the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook with Rachel Pollak, Havurah’s Office & Facilities Manager. 7 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 3

B’nei Mitzvah: Beginning the Journey/Date Selection

This workshop for parents will focus on the rite of passage itself, then on the date-selection process. Led by Rabbi Benjamin, Deborah Eisenbach-Budner and the B’nei Mitzvah Committee. 10-12 pm, Sunday, Feb. 27

Whose B'nei Mitzvah Is It Anyway?

This workshop is for families with students in grades 6 and 7 who haven't taken the workshop before. Like any life-cycle ceremony, b’nei mitzvah come to be about much more than the stated purpose – marking a passage of a child coming of age. What are some of the important explicit – and sometimes hidden – factors, choices, and messages? This workshop is not about logistics or expectations: it is about the meaning(s) of b'nei mitzvah and its power as a rite of passage for the whole family. Together we will explore the hopes and fears that inspire, inform, and complicate the preparation and planning process. How can we feel more connected to our child in this process? Our partner or ex-partner? Our family of origin? The rituals and liturgy? The community? How do we celebrate the occasion in a way that honors these connections and our values? This frank and non-judgmental workshop is about the big questions and how they impact the concrete decisions that parents and youth are called upon to make. Led by Deborah Eisenbach-Budner, Education Director, and Laura Orgel, Child & Family Therapist. 3:10-4:35 pm (during Shabbat School), Saturday, Apr. 9

Drash and Service Workshop

Rabbi Benjamin will guide students and parents in responding to the text with their own questions and walk through the Shabbat morning service. 7 pm, Wednesday, Jun. 1

Please check our online calendar to confirm the dates and times above.

B'nei Mitzvah Schedule

Log in as a member to see the dates of Havurah's b'nei mitzvah.

Resources

Sun, October 2 2022 7 Tishrei 5783