Bolton Street Synagogue strives to enable the preparation for and celebration of each Bar and Bat Mitzvah to be a meaningful and fulfilling experience.
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To attain Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Bolton Street Synagogue
- Requires participation in Bolton Street Religious School or an independent religious day school
- Requires membership in the synagogue
- Requires completion of mitzvah project
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah may be viewed as a new beginning in the life of an emerging adult, as well as in the life of his or her family.
- B'nai Mitzvah may be viewed as a change in status in accord with Jewish sacred heritage.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah affirms the decision to formally enter the Jewish community and, according to our tradition, is a time of choosing one's group identity.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah functions as a springboard to further strengthen the Jewish experience of the family and the student, and reinforce their engagement with the community. Such a view mandates that the actual celebration day becomes an event in a continuum of Jewish education and participation.
This continuum should be designed to build new peer relationships, to encourage community service, to encourage Torah study, to shape a philosophy of Judaism, and to strengthen the ties of family members to each other and the family's commitment to the Jewish community.
A period of preparation for "coming of age" is an ancient tradition among the Jewish people. For the sake of continuity with Jewish heritage, we categorize the Bolton Street guidelines according to three goals:
- Connection to Jewish spirituality
- Mastery of Jewish rituals, skills and community leadership
- Engagement in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).
An important part of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah process is the mitzvah project. This will be also discussed in the Zayin class and in meetings with the Rabbi. Each student picks a project that emphasizes the values that are important to him/her. In the past, our students have chosen such projects as the following:
- Collecting supplies for the animals at the SPCA
- Tutoring in an elementary school
- Assisting in an afterschool program for young children
- Collecting books for a school library in need of books
- Volunteering in a nursing home with the elderly
- Raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur
Highlights of the Bolton Street Bar/Bat-Mitzvah celebration
- Services led by the bar/bat mitzvah and our clergy
- Private tutoring for Torah and Haftorah portions
- Regular family meetings with Rabbi Franken in preparation of the service
- Individual B'nai Mitzvahs—no doubles
- Service tailored to the individual B'nai Mitzvah and their families