The Bnei Mitzvah Year

At Park Avenue Synagogue, children begin their formal Bnei Mitzvah training about a year ahead of their date. Here is a basic timeline for you to keep in mind. We are with you every step of the way!  Download an abbreviated version of the timeline.

4 Years Before the Simcha

• Families receive Bnei Mitzvah dates

2 Years Before the Simcha

• Families attend Bnei Mitzvah Information Meeting

1 Year Before the Simcha

Trope instruction as part of CS curriculum
•  5th graders attend a series of 4 torah trope sessions taught by trope specialists during normal class time
•  6th graders attend a series of 4 haftarah trope sessions taught by trope specialists during normal class time
•  participate in “My Parashah Shabbat”
(lead Aleinu with Cantor and with other students who share the same Torah portion)

Throughout the Year

• The Congregational School runs four Bnei Mitzvah family programs during the Vav (6th grade) year. These programs provide in-depth learning about becoming a Jewish adult and being a Jewish family. They are open to all families in the Bnei Mitzvah program, including day school families.

• We also encourage all families to take advantage of the rich opportunities for study, worship, and caring at PAS. Come with your family to our vibrant weekly Kabbalat Shabbat services. As parents of Bnei Mitzvah students, dedicate yourself to learning alongside your child by signing up for an adult learning course or attending a lecture. Volunteer together for a Tikkun Olam project. This is a year of growth and learning you can experience jointly.

10 Months Before the Simcha

• One-on-one Bnei Mitzvah tutoring begins

6 Months Before the Simcha

• Parents meet with Bnei Mitzvah Coordinator to go over logistics and timing of the simcha weekend.

2–3 Months Before the Simcha

• Meetings with rabbis begin: Dvar Torah preparation & discussion of Mitzvah project  

2 Months Before the Simcha

• Meetings with cantors begin: Bimah rehearsals

Week of Ceremony

1. Morning minyan, either Monday or Thursday, 7:15 am
2. Dress rehearsal: Full run-through
3. Friday night services, 6:15 pm: Candle lighting & Kiddush
4. Celebrate Bnei Mitzvah at one of these times:

Shabbat morning, 9:45 am
Shabbat minha, 4:45 pm or 5:00 pm, depending on sunset time
Sunday Rosh Hodesh, 9:00 am 
Monday Rosh Hodesh or bank holiday, 9:00am 

The week of the simcha includes three service components:

Morning Minyan
On Monday or Thursday, the family comes to morning minyan. The student has an aliyah to the Torah and leads a few prayers, as well as putting on tefillin, perhaps for the first time. This is a more intimate celebration and a great way to kick off the simcha week.

Friday Night
Friday nights at PAS are joyful, lively, and full of music. Students will light candles, lead Kiddush, and celebrate with the whole community.

The Simcha
While most Bnei Mitzvah take place on Shabbat morning, some families hold their ceremonies at Shabbat minha, holiday mornings, or Rosh Hodesh Sunday mornings. All students read Torah, Haftarah, lead prayers, and give a Dvar Torah.

After the Simcha

Having a date and beginning to prepare for becoming Bnei Mitzvah is the first step of a significant journey, but when a young person reaches the simcha, it doesn’t end there. We hope that becoming Bnei Mitzvah is just one milestone in a lifetime of Jewish learning and living. All students continue through the 7th grade year, even after they have celebrated their Bnei Mitzvah. After 7th grade, students participate in the exciting teen programs of the Rabbi Judah Nadich High School. Learn more about RJNHS here, or contact Niki Fleishman, Director of Youth Engagement and Programming. We look forward to having your children continue the momentum of Jewish learning and engagement.