Bar/Bat Mitzvah at CBS
This page outlines who is eligible to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah at CBS, and what the prerequisites are, as well as what requirements both the bar/bat mitzvah and the family will need to fulfill in the months preceding the celebration.
- Age – boys and girls must be thirteen (13) years of age according to EITHER the Jewish or secular calendar, whichever works to your advantage.
- Education – your child must currently be enrolled in and attending the CBS Religious School, Solomon Schechter Day School or another program of Jewish Education approved by our Director of Education or have completed his/her Hay year. If a student is transferred from another congregation, that student will be placed in the appropriate class level in our Religious School.
- Congregational fees – All outstanding congregational fees (dues, tuition, Bar/Bar Mitzvah fee, etc.) and assessments must be paid in full 30 days prior to the date of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.
- Mechina (formerly Trope class) – About one year before becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you and your child will attend a series of nine classes, 8 of them on Sunday morning during Sunday school and one class on Shabbat morning during services. Parents will convene with the rabbis to discuss pertinent religious and social issues while students meet with the Cantor to learn specific blessings and special skills needed to participate in their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, including an intro to Torah trope. The second part of each morning is spent with Cantor Steve Stoehr learning about prayer, tallit and tefillin, and praying together At the conclusion of Mechina (which means “preparation”) your child will begin individualized tutoring each week until the date of your simcha.
- 3-Pillars Project–This is an opportunity for each Bar/Bat Mitzvah student to individualize the experience of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah by pursuing a project which reaches into the community. The idea is for each student to come up with his/her own mitzvah project to which they have a personal connection. Examples have included making blankets for children in the hospital, working with shelter animals, raising money for a specific charity, etc. This must be something that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student can complete with minimal help from their parent(s). This program is designed to make becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah more meaningful for the entire family.
One year before the simcha date, the family must make an appointment to meet with Cantor Steve to explore all of the possibilities available in fulfilling this required element of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process. Please call the office to schedule this appointment.
- Tutoring – By the time your child begins individual tutoring, s/he should have learned the blessings chanted for Torah and Haftarah, as well as the “tropes” (melodies needed for chanting Torah). After your child’s tutor has confirmed that s/he has mastered these blessings, then your child will begin working on their Torah portion. After the Torah portion is learned, s/he will learn the corresponding Haftarah and parts of the Shabbat morning Torah service to lead on the day of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
- Practice – We expect students to practice 20-30 minutes per day to ensure that they will be fully prepared for their simcha.
In the Jewish tradition of friend helping friend, each Bar/Bat Mitzvah family will be scheduled for the following assignments:
- Ambassador Program – Each Bar/Bat Mitzvah family will be scheduled for Saturday morning service assignments via letter or email. One parent or both parents may serve as Shabbat Ambassadors assisting the congregation in creating a welcoming and helpful environment. The central benefit of these Ambassador assignments is aiding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah families of that morning by helping to maintain decorum and welcoming their guests to our congregation. At 9:00am sharp, Cantor Steve will meet with you to review specific details of that morning’s responsibility. There will also be a Ritual Committee Ambassador working with you, and he/she will direct all of the ushering procedures during the service.
- Serving – Each Bar/Bat Mitzvah family will be scheduled to serve at Kiddushim for other Bar/Bat Mitzvah families. One parent or both parents may participate in this responsibility. Assignments will be provided to each family via letter or email. Just as you will do for others, a group of Bar/Bat Mitzvah parents and Sisterhood members will be there for you at your Simcha. This allows you not only to reciprocate the generosity of those who will serve at your Simcha, but also gives you the opportunity to see, first hand, what is involved and what your options are before having your Simcha. Assignments for the Ambassador Program and Serving will NEVER be on the same day since both parents can participate in both activities.
- Kiddush – Sponsoring a Kiddush following the Saturday Morning Service is an obligation of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family. For more information on the Kiddush sponsorship, please contact the Shabbat Kiddush Coordinator, Brenda Wasserman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-498-4100, x30.