Teachings: Bar And Bat Mitzvah

Thirteen Sacred Shifts Possible Through a Meaningful Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Process

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar and Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues here

At Reclaiming Judaism our turnkey congregational bar/bat mitzvah workshops reveal how to empower these meaningful sacred shifts:

1. Parents shift from stressed taskmasters to empowered family bar/bat mitzvah team members.

2. Youth go from being cared for like children to becoming young adults caring for others by learning to recognize, respect and consider the needs of others and acting accordingly.

3. Youth go from being entertained as guests at birthday parties to taking on the mitzvah of helping one another by carrying out assigned hosting tasks at the bar/bat mitzvah services and celebrations of family and friends.

Podcast of Mitzvah Project: Gleaning and Glowing

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution

Inspiring four minute story of an updated approach to gleaning that adds dignity to the lives of the poor by creatively gleaning and supplying fresh produce to the shelves of the local food bank. A readily replicable mitzvah project perfect for bar and bat mitzvah, youth groups, congregations, etc. Gleaning projects are on the rise world-wide, and may be available for participation in your area.

 

How to Create a "Green" Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Ensure All Rites of Passage Are Kind to the Environment

Spirituality is When Learning Leads to Meaningful Action

The environmental impact of your rite of passage, celebration and even your thank you notes is worthy of serious consideration since there are lots of ways to have a wonderful bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah while also being gentle on the environment. Here's how:

The Bat Mitzvah Girl Who Loved Horses

Are there tasteful limits for B'nei Mitzvah? B Mitzvah! The Bar/Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues here

There was a twelve-year-old girl who loved horses. She was preparing to become bat mitzvah and insisted on horseback rides for her friends in the synagogue parking lot as well as centerpieces with famous horses depicted upon them. She also wanted to wear her riding hat when she read Torah. What to do? What’s a parent or rabbi to say?

Reb Goldie: “Ashley, I’m so impressed by your love of animals, especially horses, that I’ve brought you some information from Judaism about animals and horses.”

The Problem and Repair of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Candle Lighting Ceremony

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

This article teaches unique and meaningful ways to convey honor and blessing to special people present at a rite of passage, for example, a bar or bat mitzvah. The birthday cake strategy with candles present that are lit with nice things being said about family members was invented by a Christian caterer and become mistakenly adopted during some bar and bat mitzvah parties. That caterer didn't understand a) That candles are lit to start and end the Sabbath, never during it and b) that a bar and bat mitzvah is not a 12th or 13th birthday party.

Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah: Party Planning Guide

Bmitzvah.org: The Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues

Reb Nachman of Breslov taught: Mitzvah gedolah liheeyote b’simcha tamid - "it is a great mitzvah to always be at a simcha." Simcha can be translated as a state of happiness or a happy occasion. In Genesis 21:8 Abraham threw a feast to celebrate Isaac’s weaning, and there is a midrash (rabbinic interpretive tale), in Bereshit Rabbah 53:10. which says this was when Isaac was thirteen years of age.

BMAP: Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Planning, Logistical Emotional Intellectual Spiritual

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar and Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues here

An emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually satisfying Bat or Bar Mitzvah can best emerge when you begin by creating a BMAP – a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Action Plan. This involves pausing with the likely stressful array of logistical decisions that are on your plate, and reclaiming the joy of this process by taking some time to focus on building a healthy planning team and considering the feelings and needs of each member of your team.

If you are parent, the BMAP process will transform you from a taskmaster into a team member; if you are an adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah student the BMAP will awaken more spiritual possibilities than you might ever have imagined; if you are an adolescent student, the BMAP will empower you in numerous healthy ways.

Four Cross Cultural Examples of Adolescent Rites of Passage

To what end bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah? Across cultural look at adolescent rites of passage along with the Story of Pachi help us take a look at our own rite with new eyes.

The Mescalero Girls’ Puberty Ceremony.

The ceremony is conducted by men determined to be holy by the tribe, beyond reproach. Each Holy Man/Singer must be intelligent and able to memorize and interpret songs in a special form of Mescalero Apache. Each must sing 64 different songs on each of the four nights of the Ceremony Additionally, the Singer must memorize long stories of the people, their travels, and accounts of tribal interacts from the beginning to the present. The Ceremony is thus a re-enactment of events from the beginning of cosmological time and a recitation of ethno-history.

Healthy Integration of the Sad with the Glad

How to include the memory of loved ones during happy rites of passage

A challenging point in weddings, b'nei mitzvah and baby namings can be the absence of loved ones recently deceased, who are too far off to be able to attend, who are doing military service, or who can’t be present for other reasons. What to do?

• You can have the person leading the rite invoke the absent one’s memory/honor early on, if you wish; immediately after the opening verses of song, psalm or prayer is generally a good spot for this.

Pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah Rituals: The Educators' Blessing

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

"There’s one week to go before your bat mitzvah. Let’s do something when I come over, can I surprise you? Pack some sun screen and a bottle of water, we’ll have a little adventure together."

The bat mitzvah girl was very psyched by the idea, her folks didn’t let on that I’d cleared the mystery trip with them in advance.

We found a spot beside a river dotted with butterfly bushes. Perfect. She helped me neatly set out a colorful tarp and I placed upon it a Miriam’s cup into which we poured a small flask of spring water and a hamsa, a middle eastern symbol for good fortune.

While she watched, with ceremonial consciousness, I traded my every day kippah for the embroidered white one she saw me wearing often at high holiday services, weddings and B-mitzvahs.

What is a Tallit? What do the Fringes Mean? And a Ritual for Tying the Knots

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Tallit as a Jewish spiritual practice is derived from a verse in the Torah: “God told Moses ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and guided them throughout their generations to make fringes on the corners of their garments.'" [Numbers 15:37-40]

Finding Meaning in Your Torah Portion

FINDING MEANING IN YOUR TORAH PORTION from Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage (Jossey-Bass Publishing) by Rabbi Goldie Milgram

The Importance of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Students Knowing Themselves

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar and Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues

B-mitzvah is a time to let your talents shine. ALL of your talents and skills will likely be relevant to this phase of your life in some way. On the day of the B-mitzvah, the guests are coming to experience Shabbat, Torah, family and celebration through the lens of WHO the student is. So since B-Mitzvah includes a substantial period of being “in training,” it is a good time to do a self assessment. The information gleaned will help with setting up goals and challenges for yourself so that you will stretch toward your potential in some areas, and best utilize your superior talents in others.

Introduction to Tefillin and How to Put Them On

How are Tefiillin made?

Tefillin are a set of two leather boxes filled with parchments on which a scribe has written specific verses from the Torah, then attached the boxes to leather straps, each knotted so that one can go around your head and one around your weaker [non-dominant] arm. It is quite complex to make Tefiillin, and one is best served by buying good quality ones made by a scribe. The term tefillin (Aramaic) shares the root of tefillah, prayer.

Sample Chapter: Characteristics of a Memorable Dvar Torah

Characteristics of a Memorable B-Mitzvah D’var Torah (From Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage by Rabbi Goldie Milgram)

A memorable B-Mitzvah d’var Torah

•     Helps those present to connect some aspect(s) of the Torah portion to their own lives

•    Touches on something in your life that is likely to have happened in the lives of others in the room

Working with a Challenging Student: Bar Mitzvah Special Education

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

In this narrative, Heftsi Assaf, an attention deficit disorder specialist with a great love and skill in bar/t mitzvah tutoring, shares her inner thoughts and ways of working with a challenging student.

When I first met Natan’s mother, she told me that he was a very special kid. I didn't think it was out of the ordinary, most parents think that their kids are special. Especially when I meet with them the first time (and after) they can become very protective when the student struggles between doing his or her homework and preparing for their Bar/t Mitzvah [b-mitzvah from here-on]. In addition, I deal with parents projecting their own "experience" growing up and having to go to Sunday or religious school onto what it will be like today. Furthermore, they also worry the experience will be like what they had during their own B’nei Mitzvah years. So, parents, at times, seem to already have the curriculum for their child even before they met me.

What Age B-mitzvah?

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution: Age considerations for bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah

Technically, one becomes B-mitzvah simply by turning thirteen, even if no formal ritual or celebration or celebration is involved. Accordingly, it is neither an obligation nor an emergency to hold an official rite of passage in adolescence. While many do so starting at age twelve for girls, and thirteen for boys, a public B-mitzvah rite is viable at any age.