Teachings: Bar And Bat Mitzvah

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.

Interview Method of Dv'ar Torah Preparation with a Student

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

Interview of Bar Mitzvah student as a Torah study process. Note: With an exceptionally anxious student this can be a helpful way to actually give a scripted Torah teaching on the day of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, both of you up there doing this dialogue together.

Rabbi: What did you learn in this portion that surprised you?

Kevin:  First, Noah didn't even challenge God's decision to destroy civilization.