Today is September 30, 2023 /

Becoming B’Mitzvah

About the Process and Celebration

This is an important time for you and your child(ren) as they enter adulthood in our Jewish tradition. The Rabbi and the Education Director will partner with you and your child in the process of understanding what is required of them as a b’mitzvah.* In meetings we will explore options and suggestions available to you within the restrictions of Jewish law, all while keeping the b’mitzvah student in mind.

At the Hebrew School, we are dedicated to enriching your child’s experience. The Hebrew School experience is not focused just on this particular day but on understanding the ways we live as a Jewish people, including understanding the practice of our traditions, the meaning of our holidays and festivals, the history of our people, and of course, reading and understanding the prayers. Jewish education is about establishing a base for lifelong learning and how the teachings and practices of Judaism can help navigate every stage of life. We stress this with all students and we hope that this philosophy can continue forward with your support.

Here are some important resources families and students will use during the b’nai mitzvah process:

Students must attend a minimum of five regular shabbat services at the Roth Center during the year before becoming b’mitzvah.  This ensures that they feel comfortable with the service long before they are asked to lead one.  Parents must facilitate this attendance for their children.  We do not keep track–you are on the honor system.

Families must be members in good standing within the Kol Ha’Emek community throughout the full b’mitzvah year, including paying tuition for Hebrew school.  After their simcha, students may switch to Jew Crew for remainder of the year with no additional cost.

Students must be enrolled in the school for a minimum of three years, including the year leading up to the b’mitzvah.  For families who recently moved to the Upper Valley or who joined the synagogue less than three years prior to the b’mitzvah, two of these years may be after the b’mitzvah (by enrolling in Jew Crew).  Once students become b’mitzvah, we expect them to continue out the school year at Kol Ha’Emek with their class. The following school year, they may become madrechim (assistant teachers) and join Jew Crew, our youth group for teens. Parents’ encouragement to enroll in these programs after the b’mitzvah will support the value of continued Jewish learning.

You are encouraged throughout this process to contact our offices with questions and concerns. It will be very helpful for you to attend subsequent parent meetings, as new information will be introduced each time. We also cannot stress enough the importance of bringing your family to other b’mitzvah celebrations at Kol Ha’Emek, so that your child becomes familiar with the service.  B’mitzvah celebrations are open events where young adults are welcomed into the community. There is no invitation required to attend a service. There are several remaining this year, and you are encouraged to check the congregational calendar so that you will have those dates for planning.

We very much look forward to working with you during this special life cycle event.

Kol Ha’Emek’s school is supported in part by a grant from Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.

*Note that we use the gender neutral term “b’mitzvah” here to be inclusive but we will use the terms bar and bat mitzvah for those who prefer that.