Children begin their formal Bnei Mitzvah training about a year ahead of their date. Some preparation takes place in the Congregational School, but other programming is for day school students as well.
Here is a basic timeline for you to keep in mind. We are with you every step of the way!
PREPARING FOR THE SIMCHA
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
- CS students begin trope instruction as part of the curriculum (Torah trope for 5th graders; haftarah trope for 6th graders)
- Participate in “myParashah Shabbat” (lead Aleinu in the Sanctuary on Shabbat with other students who share the same Torah portion)
- Begin one-on-one Bnei Mitzvah tutoring
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
- CS students and day school students together with their parents attend a series of Bnei Mitzvah family programs presented by the Congregational School during the 6th grade year. These programs provide in-depth learning about becoming a Jewish adult and being a Jewish family.
- We 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.
6 Months Before the Simcha
- Parents meet with Bnei Mitzvah Manager 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
6 Weeks before the Simcha
- Meetings with cantors begin: Bimah rehearsals
WEEK OF CEREMONY
The week of the simcha includes three service components and a dress rehearsal:
- Morning minyan, either Monday or Thursday, 7:15 am. 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.
- Dress rehearsal: Full run-through
- Friday night services, 6:15 pm: Students will light candles, lead Kiddush, and celebrate with the whole community.
- Celebrate Bnei Mitzvah at one of these times. All students read Torah, Haftarah, lead prayers, and give a Dvar Torah.
- Shabbat morning, 9:45 am
- Shabbat minha, 4:45 pm or 5:00 pm, depending on sunset time
- Sunday Rosh Hodesh, 10:00 am
- Monday bank holiday, 10:00 am
AFTER THE SIMCHA
Having a date and beginning to prepare for becoming Bnei Mitzvah is the first step of a significant journey. When a young person reaches the simcha, the journey does not end. We hope and expect that becoming Bnei Mitzvah is just one milestone in a lifetime of Jewish learning and living.
All Congregational School students continue through the 7th grade year, even after they have celebrated their Bnei Mitzvah. After 7th grade, all students are encouraged to participate in our teen program, including those in day school. Learn more about our teen program.
We look forward to having your children continue the momentum of Jewish learning and engagement.