When a boy or girl reaches the age of thirteen he or she is expected to assume the religious responsibilities of an adult in the Jewish community. At Temple Emanu-El, this is marked by participating in a Shabbat morning service and reading from the Torah on or after their thirteenth birthday. Students also have an option to participate in an inter-generational trip to Israel and to celebrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah during that trip.
Students prepare for Bar or Bat Mitzvah by developing skills to lead the congregation in parts of the Shabbat morning service, by learning to chant from the weekly Torah and Haftarah portions and by creating a D'var Torah, an individual interpretation of the weekly reading.
In order to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a student must be enrolled in our Youth and Family Education Program for at least two years prior to the event. Families must be members of the congregation in good standing and students must participate in the Youth and Family Education program as well as B'nei Mitzvah preparation classes.
B'nei Mitzvah preparation includes the Brachot Ulpan (Blessings Class) and individual sessions with a Hebrew Reading Coach, a Torah Service Leader, and members of our clergy. These preparations are spread out over the twelve months prior to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Families are invited to a group meeting to set a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date when the student is about 11 years old. Approximately ten to twelve months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, families are invited to attend a B’nei Mitzvah Orientation and about six months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, families are invited to attend a B’nei Mitzvah Check-In.
Planning and preparing for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a very personal and individualized journey. No two families travel the same path. For your convenience, we have posted below a set of resources to guide you on your journey. We suggest that you read through the B'nei Mitzvah Family Information packet and review both the Materials for Learning B'nei Mitzvah Prayers and the Materials for Choosing and Learning Torah and Haftarah Portions.
For more information on B'nei Mitzvah, contact Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe.
To reserve the Temple facilities for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration venue, please email Svetlana Leykin, or phone (415) 751-2541 x123.
B'nei Mitzvah Resources
The B'nei Mitzvah Process and Logistics:
B'nei Mitzvah Family Information Packet
Additional Information for Brandeis Hillel Day School Families
Sample Parent Blessings
B'nei Mitzvah Honors Sheet
Frequently Asked Questions
Key Terms and Vocabulary for the B'nei Mitzvah Process
Materials for Learning B'nei Mitzvah Prayers:
B'nei Mitzvah Mechina Prayer and Blessings Packet (text and audio)
Recordings of Bnai Mitzvah Mechina Prayers and Blessings (audio only)
B'nei Mitzvah Mechina Prayer and Blessings Packet (PDF, text only)
Materials for Choosing and Learning Torah and Haftarah Portions: