Our b’nai mitzvah are welcomed into our minyan of adults during Shabbat. These simchas are carefully woven into the rich fabric of our regular services, both to provide continuity for the congregation and to convey the congregation’s embrace of the rejoicing family.
To provide the proper “kavod” (honor and respect), we only celebrate one bar or bat mitzvah child on any Shabbat (except in the case of twins). The bar or bat mitzvah child leads the congregation in the Torah service, reads from the Torah, recites the Haftarah, and presents a brief d’var Torah (explication of the Torah portion). With support from the Rabbi and others in the congregation as needed, one of the parents customarily delivers the main d’var Torah, a process that takes the parent on a thought-provoking journey, and allows the entire family to see each other thinking about and exploring the Torah, side by side, in preparation for the “big day.”
In further preparation, the bar/bat mitzvah also takes part in a four-month Mitzvah Class, conducted by Rabbi Bronstein for all b’nai mitzvah students and their parents. Here the focus is not on the bar/bat mitzvah as a one-day occasion, but rather on the preparation for Jewish adulthood, with all its joys and responsibilities. The Ritual Committee also assigns a liaison who meets with the family several months in advance to discuss the details and answer questions.
Click here for Bar/Bat Mitzvah resources.