B’nai Mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage – a way to mark our children’s formal recognition as young adults in the Jewish community. Our congregational community comes together to honor our students as they reach this milestone on the road to maturity. The words B’nai Mitzvah mean “one who is responsible for religious obligations (mitzvot).” Hence, Jewish adulthood is attained by accepting the responsibilities and obligations of living as a Jew.
We know that preparing for B’nai Mitzvah can be an intense and emotional time for families but the support of our clergy and community makes the process much less stressful. Our B’nai Mitzvah Handbook found in the link on this page includes the traditions surrounding B’nai Mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Israel. It will help your family plan and share the process of participating in one of Judaism’s greatest mitzvot, that of leading the Congregation in prayer and being called to read from Torah. Children usually become B’nai Mitzvah during the Shabbat morning service at 11:00 a.m but the earlier Shabbat minyan is also available.
The Religious Practices Committee maintains a longstanding policy that Friday night and Havdalah services are not available for B’nai Mitzvah. It is a blessing to have a Congregation of almost 750 families and a school of over 300 students. Holidays and Congregational events, as well as summer vacations, are all considerations when assigning dates for B’nai Mitzvah and we also appreciate our congregants’ flexibility, as there are fewer than 40 available Shabbatot. To be eligible for B’nai Mitzvah, a child must complete our Hebrew curriculum and be enrolled in our Religious School at the time of the ceremony. Regular attendance is expected, and if the Religious School indicates that attendance requirements have not been met, no date will be assigned. Similarly, an assigned date may be withdrawn. Please keep in mind that the clergy are available to meet with you at any time to discuss questions and concerns, and you should feel free to call on them.
To learn more about the specifics of training for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah you can visit these pages: