B’Nai Mitzvah

The LT Journey of Becoming
The Pathway to Larchmont Temple Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Guiding Purpose
The Journey of Becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah unfolds over the course of years, beginning as the learner enters Jewish studies, and extending beyond the ritual moment on a given, designated Shabbat morning Service.

Enabling our B'nai Mitzvah and their families to explore core questions of Jewish meaning with the aim of strengthening Jewish connection, identity and commitment, will make becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah an affirmation of Jewish living that, hopefully, lasts a lifetime.

Becoming-in-Perspective
Bar/Bat Mitzvah is not a one-shot deal—a singular moment of getting called to Torah, chanting your portion, doing your d’rash, finishing a Mitzvah Project and proclaiming: “I’m done!”

Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a journey—a process that plays out over the course of years; a pathway of growth and discovery that helps you become your best Jewish self; an adventure that starts when you begin Jewish learning and continues long after the day you stand on the Temple bimah.

Preparation
Preparation for becoming a Bar or Bat mitzvah at Larchmont Temple is connected to the Three Pillars of Larchmont Temple and Jewish life:

Torah - Learning
Avodah - Ritual and Sacred Spiritual Seeking
G'milut Chasadim - Acts of Love and Kindness

During the B'nai Mitzvah process, you will engage in all three pillars and choose one pathway in which to specialize.

Torah
In addition to being called to the Torah to chant or read a section of the weekly Torah portion in Hebrew, each learner delivers a short d'rash or d’var Torah introducing the Torah portion.

Those who choose Torah as their pathway will create and deliver a more in-depth d'rash, focusing on a key aspect of the text, studying relevant commentaries, and how it relates to us today. In preparation to take on the role of “teacher,” learners meet with Rabbi Sirkman to explore their “key koshi” (question) and develop the text for their d'rash. All B'nai Mitzvah will also chant the Haftarah blessings and choose and teach a prophetic text which most relates to your Mitzvah Project.

Avodah
Learners have the opportunity to help lead the congregation in prayer as part of their B'nai Mitzvah experience. On Shabbat morning, all of our B'nai Mitzvah lead the congregation in chanting many of the liturgical prayers, including the V'ahavta, which calls us to teach Torah to our children and incorporate its teachings into our daily lives. Those who choose Avodah as their pathway will have more opportunities to lead or interpret prayers during the Shabbat morning service, working with Cantor Scher to create these spiritual offerings through writing, music, and more.

G’milut Chasadim
In honor of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, all learners are asked 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 learners and their families to consider issues that they are interested in and/or passionate about.

Previous B'nai 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. We currently have a list of COVID19 pandemic opportunities as well. Each learner’s project should uniquely reflect what they care about and love. Those who choose Gemilut Hasadim as their pathway will have more and deeper opportunities to engage in acts of Tikkun Olam and work with Rabbi Frankel to incorporate these experiences into their d'rash.

B’nai Mitzvah Preparation Schedule
Blessing of Becoming: Spring of Grade 4
A celebration of receiving Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates

Blessing of the B'nai Mitzvah: Spring of Grade 5
An introduction to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process with Rabbi Sirkman

6th Grade Family Shabbaton (usually offsite): November of Grade 6 An overview of the Journey of Becoming for Grade 6 learners and parents. It is at this event that the Journey of Becoming booklet is given out and learners start to choose their pathway.

Torah/Haftarah Cantillation / Winter Semester of Grade 6
Learnersare introduced to the basics of cantillation of Torah during KESHER.

Cantor’s Family Orientation / 7-8 Months Prior (approx.)
The Cantor meets with learners and their parents to provide an overview of the B'nai Mitzvah journey. During this meeting, learners will receive their B'nai Mitzvah binder which includes all of the essential information about the process.

B'nai Mitzvah Family Programs: Fall or Spring Prior to Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah
The clergy leads three family programs to prepare the learner and family for their B'nai Mitzvah experience and Shabbat service.

Cantor’s Family Meeting: 6-7 months prior
Your family will meet privately with the Cantor to receive their Torah portion and talk through all of the steps that the family will take as the journey moves forward.

Torah/Haftarah Tutorial (16 sessions Monday-Thursday): 7 Months Prior
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah learner is taught their individual Torah portion and Haftarah blessings by our tutors.

B'nai Mitzvah Mitzvah Project/: 6 months prior (approx.)
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah learner 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 any of our clergy anytime.

Rabbi’s Family Torah Study: 3-4 Months Prior
Approximately 3 months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, the family studies the Torah portion with Rabbi Sirkman, setting the d'rash and family blessing writing process in motion.

D'rash Draft #1…#2 (Rabbi Frankel): 2 Months Prior
Learners have two individual appointments with Rabbi Frankel to refine the learner’s d'rash and Mitzvah Project explanations. (Those who choose the Torah pathway will continue with Rabbi Sirkman.)

Final/D'rash (Rabbi Review)
Rabbis Frankel or Sirkman will review the d'rash one final time for any last-minute changes.

First student run-through with Cantor Scher (teo weeks prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service)
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah runs through their d'rash delivery, prayers and Torah chanting in the sanctuary (parents not needed).

Final Family Run-Through (Week of Bar/Bat Mitzvah)
One last run-through for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah as the Cantor reviews the family’s role at both the Friday evening and Saturday morning worship services (parents required).

Questions?
Your Rabbis and Cantor are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your learner's journey toward becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Rabbi Sirkman, jsirkman@larchmonttemple.org
Rabbi Frankel, lfrankel@larchmonttemple.org
Cantor Scher, tscher@larchmonttemple.org
Rabbi Eve Rudin, erudin@larchmonttemple.org

To change an appointment scheduled with Barry Konner, our B'nai Mitzvah Tutor, please contact him directly at Bkona12@aol.com or 914-393-7935. Questions regarding your learner's Bar/Bat Mitzvah date can be addressed to the B'nai Mitzvah Committee and sent to Crystal Powell, cpowell@larchmonttemple.org in the main office.