The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Experience

At the age of 13 a young man or woman becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This means that they become a son or daughter of the Commandments and are now eligible (or obligated in other streams of Judaism) to participate in Jewish life as an “adult”. The actual ceremony takes place during a Shabbat morning service when the child leads a service and reads Torah for the first time.

Our children begin getting exposed to Hebrew during Religious School in grades K-3 on Sunday morning through fun games in order to set them up for success before they start Hebrew School. They also receive summer practice packets created by our Educator, Ann Zivitz Kientz every year in order to stop the summer brain drain.

Almost every Sunday during Religious School our children attend a mock Shabbat service with our Educator and enjoy a child friendly version of the services including contemporary Jewish music and for the 4th – 8th grades a full and colorful power point show complete with a 3-5 minute age appropriate video of the Torah portion of the week. These T’filah services are terrific for helping them piece together the order and meaning of the prayers of Shabbat!

Much preparation is put into the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah! A child enters Hebrew School at Temple Sinai in the 3rd grade and begins the actual process of learning how to read Hebrew. In the 2nd year of Hebrew school our kids learning the Prayers of Kabbalat Shabbat – Friday night welcoming Shabbat service. The 3rd and 4th year of Hebrew School are the years that our children learn the prayers of Shacharit Shabbat – the Saturday morning Shabbat service. And the 5th year is when they learn the Torah service and the concluding prayers along with being paired up with a private tutor to polish their Hebrew and public presentation skills, as well as meeting with Cantor Colman to learn their actual Torah and Haftarah portions. A couple of months before your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah they will meet with Rabbi Cohn and he will guide them through the thoughtful speech writing process as well as practice with your child in the sanctuary with the Torah.

You can select a date for your child as early as 3rd grade and whenever you like after that time. Parents meet with Executive Director EllenRae Shalett by calling the office at 504-861-3693 to schedule an appointment. She will discuss with you the details of the dates, contracts for reserving the auditorium and all of the other business details for your event.

Click here to download the B’nai Mitzvah handbook