Today is May 23rd, 2017 -
|The Temple Sinai Approach (Download Temple Sinai’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Handbook for Parents.) It is commonly said that on his bar mitzvah day, a boy “becomes a Jewish man.” But that’s not true; everyone knows that a 13-year old is not a man or a woman, and the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony doesn’t suddenly change that. At Temple Sinai, we see it differently: As Jewish young men and women approach age 13, through the bar/bat mitzvah process they are asked to consider how their roles are about to change over a long, long time. Bar/bat mitzvah is a type of “gateway” to adulthood, and as our teens pass through it, they try on new ideas about adulthood, new behaviors of responsibility, and new skills that will lead them to a firm Jewish identity when they reach adulthood. Our religion has created this ritual so that the whole experience of growing up is done within a nurturing Jewish context. Our approach is that the bar/bat mitzvah training process should give teens life-long skills towards becoming an adult Jew. As teens enter through this gateway, they try on the mitzvot, the commandments of Jewish tradition that all adults should study and perform.Our bar/bat mitzvah students are encouraged to study Torah and interpret it in a D’var Torah they will present to the congregation. Building their life-long synagogue skills, students also learn the basic structure of a Shabbat morning service and lead some parts in all of it, not just the Torah Service section, so they may walk into nearly any synagogue in the world and be comfortable, knowing “where they are” in the service. Students are asked to be involved in a project of social justice or Tikkun Olam, bringing repair to the world. And students are expected to study the wide array of mitzvot in Jewish tradition, not just the ethical commandments, but also those involving ritual and study, by completing an “Exploring Mitzvot” curriculum. This way bar/bat mitzvah is more than a presentation of leading the service, showing what students have accomplished before their family and friends; it is also a preparation for life-long Jewish involvement and meaning in which students gain understanding of a wide variety of Jewish behaviors, learning and doing.For more information on bar/bat mitzvah at Temple Sinai, please contact School Director Heidi Smith Hyde, or Rabbi Andrew Vogel.
We encourage parents and other family members to learn these Aliyot blessings, which are recited before and after each section of Torah is read on a Saturday morning. At Temple Sinai, we ritually mark the moment of “becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah” when the child is publicly called to the Torah by his/her Jewish sacred name (Hebrew or Yiddish name) and then recites these blessings. Before that moment, parents and other family member receive the honor of reciting these blessings, as well.