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Bar and Bat Mitzvah Preparation and Celebration

At Congregation Beth Israel of Media (BI), we hope that your Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience will be a fulfilling part of your Jewish journey, whether you are the child or the parent. Our guide is intended to help everyone prepare for this important rite of passage. This guide starts with the big picture and goes all the way down to the nitty gritty details.

Upon reaching the age of thirteen, a Jewish child becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah - literally, “son or daughter of the mitzvot (commandments).” This means that the young person is now responsible for their own Jewish practice. It is traditional to celebrate this coming of age in the context of Shabbat morning services. The Bar or Bat Mitzvah leads the congregation in prayer, is called up for their first aliyah, chants from the Torah, and delivers a D’var Torah (word of Torah or teaching).

Preparation to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah extends far beyond developing the skills to be exercised on this momentous occasion. A young person will truly be ready to assume the responsibilities of a Jewish adulthood only if they understand the practices and values of Judaism. This broader goal is reflected in the expectations for preparation outlined in our guide. It is our hope that going through this process will strengthen a family’s ties to the Jewish community and foster a desire to continue a lifelong relationship with Judaism.

Beth Israel has also developed goals and expectations for B’nai Mitzvah families in order to strengthen the BI community and the individual’s understanding of God and Torah. Just as each ancient Israelite contributed in their own way to the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle), we recognize that each of us today contributes to our community in different ways. Consider these preparation years a time to learn more about how to nurture a relationship with Jewish tradition, religion, and community.

Our goals, all of equal importance, are for the student and their family to:

  • Foster a lasting relationship with the BI community and the Jewish community as a whole
  • Understand the meaning and importance of mitzvot (commandments, Jewish practice)
  • Celebrate Shabbat
  • Appreciate the importance of Jewish education and study
  • Deepen understanding of Torah, liturgy, and God
  • Embrace the values of tzedakah (charitable giving), tikkun olam (repairing the world) and gemilut chasidim (acts of loving kindness)

B'nai Mitzvah Family Guide:

Download the complete B'nai Mitzvah Family Guide (in PDF format) which has a complete explanation of the goals and preparation, along with helpful checklists. 

Helpful information and reference:
Forms to print, and fill or hand out:
Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784