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.

4. Youth unaccustomed to responsibility for major tasks are guided into becoming young adults who are trained, supported and successful in carrying out a major life task.

5. Youth discovering traditional interpretations of Torah are also mentored in how to find personal meaning for living through the lens of Torah.

6. Students who are accustomed to passively receiving information are mentored in communicating meaning to others and step up to the plate at their B-mitzvah as empowered first-time teachers of Torah.

7. Disempowered parents who engage tutors shift to being empowered parents who seek out meaning-making mentors including family, friends and professionals.

8. Youth are guided in learning the Exodus story so they understand how people change as they themselves move from childhood into young adulthood.

9. Youth move from the 21st century culture of "self" to delighting in to the realization that they are an important part of an amazing "tribe" with a rich, diverse culture, effective spiritual practices, and mitzvah-centered life models.

10. Youth who are fairly unaware of their own capabilities are mentored to engage their talents and learning strengths creatively throughout the B- mitzvah process so they come out as young adults preparing to serve as cultural, political, religious, etc., contributors to the Jewish future.

11. Families accustomed to caterer-driven B-mitzvah celebrations become advocates for renewal of Jewish culture by bringing Jewish artists, maggidim (storytellers), folk dance teachers, badhanim (humorists) and such back to the celebratory experience.

12. In religious communities, parents, youth and educators can be helped to shift from primarily talking about G*d to experiencing G*d in our lives.

13. For your consideration: Moving the convention of engaging in a B-mitzvah social action “mitzvah project” to the year after B-mitzvah so as to involve all families and students who have just completed B-mitzvah in a semester’s collective study of a sequence of mitzvot selected by the B-mitzvah graduates themselves.

As families grow in Jewish awareness, you can then collaborate and enjoy creating and completing a substantial and satisfying joint mitzvah project during the next year. Having an on-going meaningful, supportive community of peers feels so good!

Excerpt from Living Jewish Life Cycle: Creating Meaningful Rites of Passage for Every Stage of Life, by Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram ©2008 JewishLights.com