"At 13 one is fit for keeping the commandments."
- Samuel the Younger
The ceremony of bar and bat mitzvah marks the time when our youth reach the age of 13 – a moment in the Jewish life cycle when a person is considered old enough to take responsibility for his/her Jewish life. At this time, the student affirms his/her willingness to be part of our Jewish community by leading worship, reading Torah, and sharing with the congregation a lesson that s/he has gleaned from the Torah.
Preparation for this special moment begins the moment a child is Consecrated (age 5-6), continues with Hebrew language study, becoming most intense during the six months before the ceremony. At that time, each student works with our rabbis and cantor as well as a Hebrew tutor and is expected to complete B'mitzvotav – a learning-through-doing program that helps the child begin to understand what being a Jewish adult entails.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates are set during the month of March in the year when a student turns 11. The celebration may take place no sooner than one month before s/he turns 13 and has completed four years of Hebrew language study at the Bureau of Jewish Education or its equivalent and four consecutive years of religious school. Students are expected to continue their formal Jewish education through Confirmation in Tenth Grade.