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.

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.

A Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Student Pre-Initiation Ritual

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Beginning to face life as a Jewish adult requires life skills, as well as ritual capabilities. The ability to face the darkness and listen for meaning while being supported and trusted by your elders to be able to make it, does lurk in the B-mitzvah process, in so far as our children are learning how to listen for the Torah as it applies to life.

It also helps to create something that helps frame the transition in stage of life. This might be a pre-b-mitzvah gathering to be held outdoors, perhaps with a bonfire.

What is Torah? How is a Torah Made?

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

The Torah is not what it seems to be. It is much more than a collection of bible stories. Torah is the foundation text of Judaism, one of the most ancient of wisdom traditions. Torah is the sacred meeting place of the generations. It is where we dialogue, dance and wrestle with our ancestors’ visions and formulate our own. Yes, Torah is a place to find and make meaning. The meaning is often hidden, buried inside the text and inside of you.

Torah technically means the scroll, which contains the first five books of the bible, also called a Humash, from the Hebrew word for five. Jews do not appreciate the term Old Testament and consider it a put down. We more often use the word Torah, from a Hebrew root from archery instruction meaning "giving direction." Torah can also to refer to the entire Jewish bible which is also called Tanakh (T= Torah, N= Neviim, prophets, KH= ketuvim which includes books such as Job, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Psalms and many more) and Torah study also refers to the whole body of Jewish law and teachings (Talmud, Mishna, Midrash, Zohar, Codes, Responsa, etc.)

Example of Group Aliyah Themes for Parsha Toldot: Bar Mitzvah of Aaron Roffman

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Aaron Roffman's family wanted to give a gift to their synagogue on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah. What a surprise when they called and asked me to be scholar-in-residence during his B-mitzvah weekend! Aaron and I led services together and after we met he decided to turn his B-mitzvah speech turned into group aliyot.

Sample Chapter: What is the Pardes Method of Torah Study and Dvar Torah Creation

Sample Chapter: The Four Dimensions of Torah Study and Dvar Torah Creation, the PaRDeS Model
from Make Your Own Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage by Rabbi Goldie Milgram (Jossey-Bass Publishing)

Meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah Themes

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

We’re not talking about the fabled (we hope) family who had each table and food station designated as a different department store chain as though a B-Mitzvah were some kind of celebration of North American retail business. There’s a powerful world of stimulating themes right inside of your planning, self-assessment and d’var Torah preparation processes. Your selection of themes necessarily precedes the ordering of invitations, selection of music, design for centerpieces and the like. Here are some examples: