Teachings: Bar And Bat Mitzvah

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:

Guidelines for Setting a Date and Time for a Jewish Rite of Passage

Guidelines for Setting a Date and Time for a Jewish Rite of Passage

Finding Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Tutors Who Can Be Real Mentors

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

For this to be a meaningful rite of passage, youth need something more than tutors who help with memorizing how to chant Torah and prayers; meaning-making mentors can be life-saving relationships. Mentors don’t have to be experts in the tradition, although your tutor might also be a perfect mentor, that's for you to say after reading this article. The best mentors love their lives and their connection to Judaism. A good mentor might be a great cook, artist, journalist, or doctor who is deeply, organically connected to living as a Jew in his or her own way. Who relates to Judaism and life in ways you truly admire? Might they be willing to mentor for your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah process?

Three Types of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah

Types of Bar/Bat Mitzvah: Options

There are a number of B-mitzvah rites and study settings:

Option#1: Congregational

The Gift of Hevruta: Studying Your Torah Portion with a Friend

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

One of the greatest joys of life is the experience called hevruta. The root of hevruta is the word haver "friend." Our sages said: "Take yourself a friend, go and study." Simple  yes, and there are a few guidelines that make the experience safe and a bit more profound.

The "And" method. This kind of study is collaborate, additive and non-competitive. Each person’s insights are honored, supported and treasured by the other. You are going on a Torah adventure together. When you have a different insight from your friend you express this by first empathizing with what s/he said.

Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Developmental Shifts

Well-conceived bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah preparation processes, rituals and celebrations lead to wonderful developmental outcomes such as these that we have identified through exit interviews with our program participants:

Introduction to Adult Bar Mitzvah and Adult Bat Mitzvah

Is An Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah the Right Rite for You?

Check all that apply to help your decision-making process evolve:

-You are passionate about certain ideas and ideals. You’d be interested in seeing how Judaism approaches them and would love a way to bring your family and friends together to speak with them about this.

-You want to explore the meaning, relevance and substance of Judaism or Jewish history, culture or practice in greater depth.

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