The B'nei Mitzvah Process
Preparations for becoming a bar or bat mitzvah at Larchmont Temple are connected to the Covenant of Membership which is reflected in the Three Pillars of Larchmont Temple life: Torah- Learning, Avodah- Ritual and Sacred Spiritual Seeking, and G'milut Chasadim- Acts of Love and Kindness.
TORAH: In addition to being called to the Torah to chant or read a section of the weekly Torah portion in Hebrew, each child delivers a ‘drash’ or d’var Torah; words of learning about the weekly Torah portion focusing on a key aspect of the text and how it relates to us today. In preparation to take on the role of ‘teacher’, students meet with Rabbis Sirkman and Miller to explore their ‘key koshi’ or question and develop the text for their drash. B’nei Mitzvah chant from the Haftarah- a selection from the Prophets, Writing as well.
AVODAH: Children have the opportunity to help lead the congregation in prayer as part of their b’nei mitzvah experience. On Friday night (Erev Shabbat), children light the Shabbat Candles with their mother or other female representative of their family and lead the congregation in Kiddush, the blessing over wine. On Shabbat morning, children lead the congregation in chanting the V'ahavta, a prayer which remembers the commandments we received from God and calls us to teach them to our children and incorporate them into our daily lives. This is especially relevant as you become a "child of these commandments” as a bar (son) or bat (daughter) mitzvah (commandment.)
G'MILUT CHASADIM: In honor of become a bar or bat mitzvah children are encouraged to consider the many blessings they have in their lives and give back to the community through a "Mitzvah Project." This is an opportunity for children and their famlies to consider issues that they are interested in and/or passionate about and help support them - through their time and energy. Previous b'nei mitzvah have worked at the Special Olympics, at the New Rochelle Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, or with the Larchmont Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force. Each child’s project should uniquely reflect what he or she cares about and loves.
The B'nei Mitzvah Milestones Schedule which follows provides a general time line for when special family programs, personal tutoring and various meetings will take place.
B'NEI MITZVAH PROGRAM SCHEDULE
WHAT? / WHEN?...
Blessing of Becoming / 4th grade
A celebration of receiving Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates
Blessing of the B’nai MItzvah / 5th grade
An introduction to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process with Rabbi Sirkman
6th Grade Family Shabbaton / Jan/Feb 6th grade
An overview of the “Journey”
B’nei Mitzvah Basic Training / Fall & Spring Grade 7
Our family prep-course for bringing this milestone moment to life. Beginning with a Family Shabbat experience during a Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah, we then share in three Sunday sessions from 10:15 am – 11:30am, viewing your Bar/Bat Mitzvah through the prism of Covenant – Torah, Avodah, and G’milut Chasadim
Cantor’s Family Orientation / 6-7 Months Prior (approx.)
The particulars of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes and tutoring schedule are reviewed.
B’nei Mitzvah Mitzvah Project/ at least 3 month prior (approx.)
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah student undertakes a “mitzvah project” of interest to take action and give back and connect with the community in honor of this simcha (special occasion). Mitzvah projects can be brainstormed with Rena anytime.
BM RITE & RITUAL PREP PROGRAM
Torah/Haftarah Cantillation / 6th Grade
Students are introduced to the basics of cantillation of Torah and Haftarah.
Torah/Haftarah Tutorial (16 sessions Monday-Thursday) / 7 Months Prior
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah child is taught his/her individual Torah and Haftarah portion guided by our tutors..
Final Family Run-Through the week prior
One last run-through for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child as the Cantor reviews the family’s role at both the Friday evening and Saturday morning worship services.
Thursday of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah week (unless school vacation)
Chant Torah and part of your Drash during Religious School Service at 3:35 PM.
Rabbi’s Family Torah Study/Search / 3—4 Months Prior
Approximately 3 months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, the family studies their child’s Torah portion with Rabbi Sirkman, setting the Drash and Blessing writing process in motion.
Drash Draft #1…#2 (Rabbi Miller) / 2 Months Prior
Individual appointments to refine the child’s Drash.
Final/Drash (Rabbi Review)
After having been reviewed by Rabbi Miller, a final version of the drash is given to Rabbi Sirkman for an okay.
Bar-Bat Mitzvah—The Journey of Becoming has only begun
The Journey of Becoming is just beginning as our students continue Jewish learning through the LTY program, for 8th-12th graders.
Your Rabbis, Cantor and Religious School Director are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child's journey toward becoming a bar or bat mitzvah.
Questions regarding your child's bar or bat mitzvah date can be addressed to the b'nei mitzvah committee and given to Linda Price in the main office.