Judaism recognises that adolescence is an important time of transition from a child to a teenager. That change is marked through the bar or bat mitzvah. At Temple Israel we believe that each child is different and so each bar or bat mitzvah celebration needs to have its own personal feeling. At the same time they are also being recognised as part of the community of Klal Yisrael, the wider Jewish people and so we have a process of preparation that allows each child to get themselves ready for their bar/bat mitzvah day. That involves learning Hebrew and basic Jewish knowledge such as the festival cycle and Shabbat, some Jewish history and thought and how Progressive Judaism differs from other streams of Judaism.
This is facilitated through the Beit Batya Hebrew School. Once the child is ready they enter the bar/bat mitzvah programme, a year course that ensures they have the practical skills necessary for leading the service, chanting from the Torah and Haftarah and giving a d’var Torah, a short teaching based on their Torah portion. To do this they are assigned tutors and one of our rabbinic team who will guide them through to their bar/bat mitzvah day. Keeping in mind the mitzvah of bar/bat mitzvah, each candidate will work on their own personalised Mitzvah – something that they will do to make the world a better place. This could be volunteering time, raising money or collecting goods for a cause in line with their own interests.
In keeping with the egalitarian principle that men and women are counted equally in our synagogue, students celebrate their bar or bat mitzvah at the age of 13 or older, whether they are boys or girls and likewise both will read from the Torah and Haftarah. To find out more about how to enrol your child in the Beit Batya Hebrew School, please click here for the application form or or email email@example.com