Torah Blessings page
Open Letter to Bar/Bat Mitzvah Students from the Clergy
Dear Bar/Bat Mitzvah Students & Parents:
The tradition of Bar and Bat Mitzvah, by which we celebrate your passage into the Jewish religious and ethical responsibilities of adulthood, is one of the most enriching experiences you will ever have. The Bar and Bat Mitzvah service marks the occasion when you begin the process of becoming an adult. Along with your family, friends and extended family here at The Community Synagogue, we celebrate your official entrance into the "adult" Jewish community.
We believe that Judaism is a way of life and a religious heritage worthy of serious adult understanding. Therefore, the learning, experiences, and identification that we ask of you are designed to lead you to mature linkages with our people and our faith. Participation as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is one important step along that road. It is, of course, not the only step.
Our Congregation firmly believes that Jewish education is a life-long journey. We encourage all our students to continue their Jewish education by participation in our popular Havurat Noar and Confirmation programs. The Community Synagogue also offers adult education to inform, challenge and inspire you all the years of your life.
As you become an adult member of the Jewish community, we look forward to you joining with us in our people's journey. May this new chapter of your life be fulfilling, rewarding and enlightening.
For additional information, call us at 516-883-3144 ext 328 or email us by clicking on our names above.
Criteria for Bar/Bat Mitzvah at TCS
1. Your family is a member-in-good standing of The Community Synagogue.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Process
The rabbi who will officiate at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah meets with the parents and Bar/Bat Mitzvah student about six months before the ceremony. The rabbis also meet with candidates during their final preparation in the 2 to 3 months leading up to the Shabbat Service in which the family will participate. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah student will meet with Cantor Claire Franco on an ongoing basis, as well as an assigned tutor, to work on Hebrew, chanting and preparing for the service. The tutor and the Cantor work with the student until all of the prayers, Torah and Haftarah portions are understood with fluency.
The individual B'nai Mitzvah educational process is supplemental to Religious School studies. Each student must remain a student in good standing in our Religious School program. In addition, families are required to attend a series of weekly clergy-led Torah Study sessions prior to their celebration of Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Judaism teaches us that when a joyful or celebratory experience occurs, one way we show our thankfulness is by giving to or doing for others. The four-prong Mitzvah program is designed to help the Bar/Bat Mitzvah learn the importance of Jewish commitment. The Mitzvah program includes completing one option in four areas: T’fillah (Study), Avodah (Prayer/Ceremony/Ritual), G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness) and Tz’daka (Righteous Giving). Our hope is by participating in these acts students will have a greater sense of God's presence in their lives.
For more information on how to choose a Mitzvah Project, please click here.
For additional resources, please click here.
The term Bar or Bat Mitzvah (literally, "son or daughter of the commandments") is a title given to all Jews reaching their 13th birthday to signify that they are now prepared to take personal responsibility for their own religious actions and moral behavior through performing the mitzvot (commandments). It is equivalent to reaching the age of legal majority. No ritual is necessary to establish this status.
Listing the stages in a Jew's life, the Mishnah (Avot 5.21) tells us that "thirteen is for Mitzvah." That is to say, traditional Jewish law holds that it becomes incumbent upon a thirteen-year-old male to fulfill the 613 commandments. From this time unto the day of his death, the Jewish male is a Bar Mitzvah, a "son of the commandment." Additionally, in Reform tradition, a young woman becomes a Bat Mitzvah, a "daughter of the commandment," at 13 years of age. According to Jewish tradition, each Jewish adult is tied to the moral and ritual laws of Judaism as a child is tied to his parents.