The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Year

At Park Avenue Synagogue, children begin their formal Bar/Bat 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 Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates

2 Years Before the Simcha

• Families attend Bnei Mitzvah Information Meeting

1 Year Before the Simcha

• 6-weeks Trope Class begins, participate in “My Parashah Shabbat”
(lead Aleinu with Cantor and with other students who share Torah portion)

Throughout the Year

• The Congregational School runs three Bnei Mitzvah family programs during the Vav 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 prep & Mitzvah project discussion

2 Months Before the Simcha

• Meetings with cantors begin: Bimah rehearsals

Week of Ceremony

1. Morning minyan, either Monday or Thursday, 7:15am
2. Dress rehearsal: Full run-through
3. Final bimah rehearsal
4. Friday night services, 6:15 pm: Candle Lighting & Kiddush
5. Celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvah: Shabbat morning, 9:45 am or Minha, 4:45 or 5:00 pm depending on sunset time

The week of the Simcha includes three service components:

Morning Minyan
On Monday or Thursday, the family is invited to morning minyan. The student will have an aliyah to the Torah and lead a few prayers, as well as put 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

• Continue with Congregational School through 7th grade
• Register for 8th & 9th grade programs (Contact Hallie Chandler, Director of Youth Programming and Engagement, or x147.)

Having a date and beginning to prepare for a Bar or Bat 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 Bar or Bat Mitzvah is just one milestone in a lifetime of Jewish learning and living.  One way is by participating in the exciting teen programs of the Rabbi Judah Nadich High School at Park Avenue Synagogue throughout the year. Check our website and contact Niki Fleishman, Director, at