The age of 13, in Jewish tradition, is the age of religious responsibility. The term Bar (for a boy) and Bat (for a girl) Mitzvah means "son or daughter of the commandment," in essence stating that this young person is now ready to take on the responsibilities of observing and caring for their Jewish identity. To demonstrate this readiness, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student is invited to lead a prayer service, chant from the Torah and the Haftarah, and write and deliver a D'var Torah, a lesson from their Torah portion. Our students are also asked to engage in several acts of tikkun olam, repair of the world, through volunteer or project-based work. There are three primary goals of Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Am Shalom: lifelong learning, prayer, and acts of loving-kindness. It is truly a milestone to celebrate along the path of Jewish life and learning.
Our students typically receive the date of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service in the spring of fourth grade, but the formal preparations begin about 18 months in advance with a family class. The preparation for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is intended to be a meaningful part of the entire process. Students study diligently with their individual tutors and the cantor to learn their Torah and Haftarah portions and prayers. In addition, they will meet with one or more of our rabbis to prepare their D'var Torah, a teaching that they will share with the congregation on the day of their service.
For more information about our Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates, or about our tutoring and learning process, please contact Rabbi Phyllis Sommer .
B'nai Mitzvah Central - This section is designed to guide your access to information already shared with our B’nai Mitzvah families at the classes and meetings you have with our Clergy, professional tutors and our staff.