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B'nai Mitzvah

Mazel Tov! You and your family are about to celebrate a significant milestone in your child’s life. B’nai Mitzvah marks the time in a young person’s life when the greater community begins to view that person as an adult. In the Jewish tradition, a person is now capable of assuming more responsibilities, observing laws from the Torah, Mitzvot, participating in religious rituals and being counted as part of the Minyan (prayer quorum).

The leaders and congregation of Beth El Synagogue are excited to share this joyous moment with your family and are here to help you prepare for the occasion. The information located here describes our policies and aims to answer many of the questions that you or your family may have. However, this is by no means all inclusive; should you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Steven Abraham, Hazzan Michael Krausman, Executive Director Allison Newfeld or Education Director Mark Kelln at 402.492.8550.

B'nai Mitzvah Information Meeting
Sunday, December 3
12:15 pm
For grades 5-6
(6th grade parents who attended last year do not need to attend)

These links will help you navigate the B'nai Mitzvah process.

Message from Rabbi Abraham

First, let me say Mazel Tov to you and your family on reaching this important marker in your Jewish life! Further, we are honored that you have chosen Beth El Synagogue as your Jewish home, a place to celebrate and to mourn; we are truly a family and blessed to have you as a member.

Like all Jewish life cycle events, Bar/Bat Mitzvah brings about a moment of personal and family change into the community. Your child will stand before our community of adult Jews, gathered for prayer and learning to celebrate this unique moment of growth. Your child will do what only adult Jews are permitted to do – lead the community in prayer and teach the community from the Torah. This is an awesome responsibility, one we hope you and your child will come to embrace during the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

While there are many ways to prepare, the best preparation for this special moment is to join our community in prayer and learning as a family. This preparation will serve you well for the journey you are about to embark on, a journey that we believe starts while preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah and will continue for the rest of your child’s life.

The staff of Beth El Synagogue is eager to work with you and your child to make this experience both enjoyable and meaningful. Please be in touch if there is anything we can do to help further your family’s experience.

Mazel Tov once again and we look forward to celebrating with your family!

Rabbi Steven Abraham

Message from Hazzan Krausman

Bar/Bat mitzvah is one of the most significant passages in our Jewish life. Rather than being a one-time observance or an examination to be passed, Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a legal status that every member of the Jewish people receives automatically on the occasion of his or her Hebrew thirteenth birthday. Our sages determined centuries ago that thirteen is the age when a person has the maturity to take responsibility for their own actions, especially as defined by the 613 Mitzvot or Commandments contained in the Torah. For that reason, when a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ascends the pulpit to lead part of the synagogue service, he or she is acknowledging his or her spiritual responsibilities and guaranteeing that our sacred cultural heritage will continue to flourish and grow for another generation.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation together with Jewish education gives the individual the rudimentary tools they need to begin forging their own link in the timeless chain of Jewish tradition. Because there are no set requirements for becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, no minimum or maximum criteria that must be met, each individual is empowered to define their own Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience by setting reasonable but challenging goals and working to accomplish these objectives. Throughout the process, the celebrant and his/her family are surrounded by a warm, supportive and nurturing synagogue community. Bar/Bat Mitzvah, then, affords the entire family a unique opportunity to expand their spiritual skills and level of awareness and to examine their own Jewish heritage – to formulate their own family traditions, values and customs that can also be passed on to future generations.

Here at Beth El, it is our goal to make Bar/Bat Mitzvah a positive, life changing experience, not only for the individual student but for the entire family. Perhaps the best advice I can give is to make sure that the concepts associated with Bar/Bat Mitzvah become important family values. Bring your Bar/Bat Mitzvah student to synagogue, don’t just drop them off; make sure that the entire family is a part of the wonderful Shabbat community that gathers for prayer and fellowship each week here at Beth El. Communicate by example, take advantage of the family educational opportunities that are offered.

It has been my honor to work with Bar/Bat Mitzvah students and their families for many years. For me the joy and “Nachas” of guiding a student as they take their first steps on the path to Jewish adulthood and to bask in the glow of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah as they shine on their special day is priceless.

Hazzan Michael Krausman

Setting the Date
Selection of a date is made when your child turns 11 years old. Please call or email Hazzan Krausman after your child’s birthday to set up a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. (402.492.8550). When you meet with Hazzan Krausman, care will be taken to work together to select a date with an appropriate portion for your child in order to maximize his or her experience.

Please note that Beth El Synagogue sees its sanctuary and chapel as places where all are welcome to worship. We are sensitive to children (and adults) with special needs. Parents with children who have special needs can make arrangements for a B’nai Mitzvah service by speaking with Hazzan Krausman.

Certain dates are not available for scheduling B’nai Mitzvah. Dates are not available from June 10 – August 10. Beth El Synagogue will not schedule these Simchas during the High Holy Days season. This includes the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat Shuvah (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Nor will B’nai Mitzvah be scheduled during the Festivals of Sukkot, Pesach or Shavuot. Children who celebrate their 13th birthday during the summer will be scheduled during the fall.

Click here to access Shabbat start and end times to keep in mind during your party planning process.

Non-Shabbat Morning B’nai Mitzvah
While the norm for B’nai Mitzvah at Beth El remains a Saturday morning service, there are certain instances when it may be possible to have a B’nai Mitzvah celebration on a day other than Shabbat Morning.

Suggested T’filah Milestones for B’nai Mitzvah
The aim of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to set appropriate, but challenging goals which can be met in a positive, uplifting atmosphere. Bearing in mind the individual differences of each student, here is a somewhat prioritized list of B’nai Mitzvah milestones. Each student is encouraged to do what is appropriate for them – there are no minimum or maximum limits. Here are some examples of what our students can do:

- Blessing for the Tallit
- Haftarah, associated blessings, Maftir and additional Torah readings
- Torah Service
   - Shema/ Gadlu
   - Ein Keloheinu /Aleinu/ Adon Olam /Vay’hi B’nsoah
   - Ein Kamocha/Bei Ana Rachetz/Torah Blessings
   - Hatzi Kaddish
   - Service for retuning the Torah
- The D’var Torah
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech is a chance for your student to work with Rabbi Abraham and get a better understanding of their Torah and Haftara portion.
- Shacharit
Shema and Associated Blessings, Amida section of Shacharit
- Shabbat Musaph
- Psukei D’Zimra
- Friday Evening
   - Shema/Aleinu V’ Shamru/Kabalat Shabbat
      or selected parts (e.g. L’cha Dodi or Kiddush)

Please Note: Shabbat Morning B’nai Mitzvah Students must be comfortable with their Haftarah and Torah reading before beginning to learn parts of the service.

The best way to be prepared for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to come weekly beginning in the 3rd grade to Junior Congregation and be an active part of your synagogue community. The most successful B’nai Mitzvah occur when the entire family attends services regularly and becomes part of the Shabbat community of Beth El.

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784