Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations at Temple Beth Hillel are built on study in our religious school and several months of intensive work. B’nai Mitzvah students learn to lead a Shabbat service and chant Torah and haftarah with the appropriate blessings.
In a program unique to Temple Beth Hillel, students choose their own Torah selection from within the week’s parasha. They and their family first read the entire portion in translation together; then they find a part that is especially meaningful to them.
Our students also participate in a Mitzvah project, which is five or more hours of community service, something designed to put one’s beliefs into action and help define one’s own role in the world. Students may select from a list of suggested projects or propose their own form of tikkun olam (“repairing the world”).
Bar and Bat Mitzvah students prepare a speech under the guidance of our rabbis. They interpret their Torah portion, talk about their Jewish identity, tell about their Mitzvah project and how it affected them and give a perspective on their family.
As part of the preparation, parents of B’nai Mitzvah attend a series of workshops led by the rabbis and cantor, addressing philosophy and practicalities.
Our B’nai Mitzvah students feel included in temple life. Many of them go on to serve as teaching assistants, Torah readers at High Holy Days, and members of the senior youth group. Many also continue in higher grades in Hebrew High School and Confirmation.