The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Experience

At the age of 13 a young man or woman becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This translates from the Aramaic to [becoming] a son or daughter of the Commandments. They 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 youngster leads a service and reads from the Torah for the first time.

Our students are first exposed to Hebrew on Sunday mornings through fun games in order to set them up for success before they begin Hebrew School in 3rd/4th grade. They also receive summer practice packets created by Director of Education Avital Ostfield every year to practice and avoid forgetting valuable content over the summer months.

Every Sunday, our students participate in a service led by Rabbi Reimer and Songleader Leo Henkin (families encouraged to attend). These T’filah services are terrific for helping them prepare for leading the prayers of Shabbat!

Much preparation is put into the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. A student typically enters Hebrew School at Temple Sinai in the 3rd grade and begins the process of learning how to read Hebrew. By the second year of Hebrew school our students learn the prayers of Kabbalat Shabbat – the Friday night welcoming Shabbat service. The third and fourth years of Hebrew School are the years that our students learn the prayers of the Shacharit Shabbat (morning) service. And the fifth/advanced year is when they learn the components of the Torah service and the concluding prayers.

Additionally, they are paired with a private tutor to polish their Hebrew and presentation skills, and have sessions with Cantor Colman to learn their individual Torah and Haftarah portions. A couple of months before your student’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah they will meet with Rabbi Reimer and he will guide them through the thoughtful D’var Torah (speech) writing process as well as practice with your child in the sanctuary with the Torah.

Date selections for your student typically happen in 3rd grade. Parents meet with Executive Director Liz Yager 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