These guidelines are meant to help guide families through the B’nai Mitzvah process. Only minimum requirements are listed, with the hope that the B’nai Mitzvah student will accomplish as much as he/she is capable of doing. These guidelines are designed to provide families with the tools to help make the most of the B’nai Mitzvah experience.
The student must be 13 on or before the date of the B’nai Mitzvah.
The B’nai Mitzvah service must be a communal event, one which is open and accessible to the entire congregation.
The family must have been a member of Temple Beth Sholom for at least one calendar year preceding the B’nai Mitzvah.
Attendance at services The student will attend at least 8 services in the two calendar years prior to the B’nai Mitzvah, including a minimum of 4 services during the calendar year preceding the event. A parent/guardian must attend services with the student for at least half of the eight services.
Attendance at Sunday School The student must have 50% attendance at Sunday School for each of the two calendar years prior to the B’nai Mitzvah.
B’nai Mitzvah Training
- The family will meet with the Director of the Religious School at least one year prior to the B’nai Mitzvah to discuss expectations and pick a date for the event. All arrangements for the service must be approved by the Temple Beth Sholom Board of Directors.
- The student will begin study with the rabbi at least one calendar year prior to the B’nai Mitzvah. Arrangements for meeting with the rabbi are the family’s responsibility and must not interfere with previously scheduled obligations that the Rabbi has with the congregation.
- The family will identify a B’nai Mitzvah/Hebrew coach at least one year prior to the B’nai Mitzvah, with approval of the coach by the Director of the Religious School. A parent may act as the coach, if qualified. Arrangements for meeting with the coach are the family’s responsibility.
Tzedakah Project The student should complete a meaningful tzedakah project. The project should express Jewish values in some way, and must be approved by the Rabbi and/or the Director of the Religious School.
Minimum knowledge requirements
The student will be able to read/chant in Hebrew:
- Candle blessings
- Blessing over the wine
Minimum requirements for the B’nai Mitzvah service
Read/chant at least 7 verses form the Torah scroll
Blessings before and after the Torah reading
Prepare and deliver a d’var Torah, a short teaching based on the Torah reading
Requirements for transfer students For a student whose family has joined Temple Beth Sholom within two years of the B’nai Mitvah date, all above expectations are required. However, certain requirements can be transferred from one congregation to another, but this must be communicated to the Director of the Religious School. Any services attended at another congregation count towards fulfilling the service attendance requirement. Also, attendance at another Jewish religious school counts toward the Sunday School requirement, with written documentation from that school’s religious director. The transfer student must wait one calendar year between the date enrolling in the Sunday School and the B’nai Mitzvah date.
An Important Note These requirements can be adjusted for a special needs child. Any student with a physical, mental or developmental disability will be assessed by the Rabbi, the Religious Director, and the Hebrew coach to determine the expectations for the student so that his/her sense of accomplishment and pride in Jewish identity is maximized.