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.

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.”

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Creating a Family Learning Trip During the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Year

Mark:  "It seems my mother thought that the best way for me to experience my pre-Bar Mitzvah was by being stranded on a boat, floating away from civilization while practicing for the big day.

And although surviving without an internet connection, phone communication, cable television, and other necessities, all in all it was the motivation I needed to sit down and learn my Bar Mitzvah readings.

Opening the Dialogue with God in B’nai Mitzvah Preparation

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

by Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel

An anxious pre-teen enters tentatively into my home for the first day of b’nai mitzvah training. We begin by chatting to learn the basics about each other. Listed below are some of the questions I ask and some of the responses I receive.

What Do Rites of Passage Accomplish?

What do Rites of Passage Accomplish? by Rabbi Goldie Milgram with Barry Bub

Rituals and their symbolic, action, and liturgical components facilitate lifecycle events or significant transitions by:

·     providing the framework of support for desired or necessary change

·     acting as speed bumps that invite reflection and integration

Introduction to The Meaning and Value of Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a Rite of Passage

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

"The Story of Pachi"

The easiest way to learn why staff at Bmitzvah.org collect and create exciting new approaches to bar/bat mitzvah is through the story of Pachi, who taught Rabbi Milgram, this site's author and founder, the importance of mentoring meaningful bar/bat mitzvah processes.

During my son Mark’s bar-mitzvah preparatory year, since his Torah portion was Noah [and the ark], I felt fortunate to be serving for as rabbi on a Universe Explorer cruise up the coast of Alaska. We helicoptered onto glaciers, whale watched, visited tribes. The big "Ah Ha!" moment happened in Victoria, British Columbia at the Natural History Museum.

Review: Looking for Me...in This Great Big Family

This review by Rabbi Goldie Milgram first appeared in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Looking for Me…in This Great Big Family
by Betsy R. Rosenthal is a powerful free-verse lament about the burdens of growing up in a large family. Laments are an important part of mobilizing oneself toward healing. This novel offers numerous worthwhile teachable moments for parents and educators who gift or assign it. The rising rates of

Links to Mitzvah Project Opportunities

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

The following organizations offer solid mitzvah project opportunities:

Jewish Coalition for Service: Umbrella agency for social action volunteer service opportunities around the world. http://werepair.org/

Areyvut.
Trains and partners teachers and schools in how to do social action, also lists many ideas and methods for mitzvah projects. Areyvut.org


Ziv Tzedekah Fund: Danny Siegel’s many mitzvah ideas, books efforts and the Stick Your Neck Out! Curriculum for schools are highlighted here. Ziv.org

Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger is dedicated to supporting soup kitchens and food pantries; many families give about 3% of B-Mitzvah party costs to this effort. Mazon.org

Visualization: Torah and Her Garments

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Imagine it is time for you to go up to the Torah, perhaps your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. You are about to become a witness and participant in the reading and interpretation of Torah. Go ahead, approach the aron, the ark; it represents the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Israelites carried the carved tablets with the Ten Commandments in the wilderness. The doors of the ark are opened. You will cross a threshold in your life as an elder or leader of the community places the Torah in your arms. The sacred mantle of leadership is upon you.

What Age Bar Mitzvah? What Age Bat Mitzvah?

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

Please don’t undertake a Bar/bat mitzvah process of learning and planning a ritual and celebration just because everyone else is doing it, or because of parental or communal pressure. It is right to undertake Bar/bat mitzvah when one is developmentally willing, curious, and has the time to learn new things about being Jewish and about oneself.

How to Write a Note for a Gift

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

The following is a sample gift letter we sent to a cousin who happened to be inter-marrying so it also feels good to give in honor of the wedding to a Jewish cause which is doing non-sectarian relief work....global tikkun olam!

Dear Ones:

We welcome you as a new couple to our family!

It is a Jewish tradition to add blessing to a couples life, on the event of their marriage, by giving a gift of tzedakah (a donation which consciously changes someone else's situation) in their honor.

What Age for Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah?

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Parenting Today

What Can We Learn from B'nei Mitzvah Past?

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

A Jew from Yemen once told me how he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah back in the land of his birth. What left an indelible impression on him was staying up all the previous night with his grandfather, and together reciting the entire Book of Psalms. Submitted by Rabbi Monty Eliasov, Austin, TX

Beth Ornstein was bat mitzvah in 2002. "This has been the best year of my life. I really worked hard, and everyone had a great time. My grandmother came from England, she’s 84. I was so happy to see her." Beth has a book of pictures and memorabilia she’d created from the event, it was bursting with masks and every note sent back to indicate attendance had a blessing on it. That it seems, was her teacher’s idea. "She taught us to make the return cards a spiritual message to lift each other’s spirits on the path to bat mitzvah. That works, you know!" What about the masks? "My bat mitzvah as around Purim time. I researched every midrash I could find about Queen Esther and wrote one of my own. I asked my friends to write midrashim (story commentaries) as presents for me, a few really did! They read their at the party and then they surprised me with a skit about Queen Vashti. Then everyone sang the Esther song, even the stodgiest people in our family got into the spirit of it. It was a day to remember!"

Creating a Meaningful Dvar Torah

Giving over meaningful guidance on the Torah portion during a religious service is not so much a speech as it is a mitzvah, a sacred act called “giving a d’var Torah.” A d’var, “a word” of Torah, is a brief teaching where you connect your Torah portion with the heart, mind and spirit of those present. Israelis often refer to this practice as a derasha, or drash, an “explanation” of the Torah portion.