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B’nai Mitzvah Program

Mazel tov on taking this next step in becoming b'nai mitzvah

After many years of studying Hebrew, our ancient traditions, holidays, and history, it is now time for you to take this important rite of passage in our Jewish faith as you prepare to lead our congregation in prayer and read from the Torah.

When you begin the b'nai mitzvah process, you will receive the following items: 
1.    A copy of Mishkan T'filah (the Reform Movement's blue siddur)
2.    Your Torah pamphlet with your Torah portion in Hebrew, a translation, and commentary
3.    B'nai Mitzvah honors sheet (also included in this manual)

Becoming b'nai mitzvah is an important part of who we are as a Jewish people; when you take on the responsibility of everything this process entails, you join as a link in our People's Chain of Tradition. You have a village of people who came before you, starting with your parent(s) and spanning all the way back to our forefathers and foremothers. This b'nai mitzvah process embodies the value of l'dor vador (from generation to generation), and we are so grateful to be a part of this special journey with you and your family.

Though you are a part of our expansive Har Sinai Oheb Shalom Congregational family, this process is individualized to meet your interests and needs. In the months leading up to your b'nai mitzvah, you will: 
1.    Learn key prayers
2.    Learn to chant your Torah portion, first with vowels and then with no vowels
3.    Learn to chant your Haftarah portion (for morning services only)
4.    Write a D'var Torah (sermon)
5.    Participate in a Mitzvah Project of your choosing 

Rabbi Sabath, Cantor Marcus, and your tutor are looking forward to working with you to help you and your family make the very most out of this journey! 

Click HERE for a printable B'nai Mitzvah manual.


Bill Bronstein, Director of Religious School and Lifelong Learning
(443) 278-9347

Inaugural Senior Rabbi,
Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph. D.

Inaugural Cantor,
Alexandra S. Marcus

Lee Sherman, Executive Director

Quick Links

Click HERE for a printable B'nai Mitzvah manual.

B'nai Mitzvah Questionnaire

What is a Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Plural: B'nai Mitzvah)? 

The term b'nai mitzvah literally means "children of the commandment." Technically, a Jewish person becomes bar or bat mitzvah when he or she turns thirteen years old. Our tradition teaches that when a child reaches that age, he or she is commanded to observe the ethical and ritual laws of our Jewish tradition. The b'nai mitzvah ceremony is actually not a requirement of this tradition; however, over the past few centuries, this rite of passage has come to be celebrated in a religious ceremony. 

Becoming B'nai Mitzvah Today

Today, we recognize that children 13 years of age have not yet reached the age of full spiritual maturity or responsibility. Becoming b'nai mitzvah is considered to be a major step toward adulthood. The ceremony marks the moment when teenagers will be expected to make more decisions on their own and assume greater personal responsibility and accountability for their actions. The ceremony also provides an added incentive for continued religious education. The Posner JEM Religious School curriculum at Har Sinai Oheb Shalom Congregation is designed to prepare the b'nai mitzvah candidate for a fulfilling experience within a Reform Jewish framework while maintaining the highest standards. The b'nai mitzvah ceremony provides an opportunity for the b'nai mitzvah candidate to demonstrate some of what they have learned at Har Sinai Oheb Shalom Congregation as well as what they have learned about life. 

Service Options and Times:

1.    Saturday Morning B’nai Mitzvah Services begins at 10:00 a.m., is approximately one- and one-half hours in duration, and includes a Torah and Haftarah reading as well as a D'var Torah by your child. Our clergy will officiate. 
2.    Saturday Afternoon (Mincha) B’nai Mitzvah Services service begins at 5:00 p.m., is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes in duration. Our clergy will officiate. This service does not include Haftarah reading as part of the liturgy and concludes with the lovely service of Havdalah -- the separation between the Shabbat and the week. 
3.    Other options are available upon request of the family.

Service Location: 
1.    The Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Sanctuary can accommodate up to 800 people. 
2.    The Peggy and Yale Gordon Chapel can accommodate as many as 165 people. 

Note: We do not schedule b'nai mitzvah dates during the months of July or August. 


  • Aliyah (plural, aliyot) — Literally, “going up.” The ascent to the bimah to say the blessings over the Torah scroll. 
  • Amidah — Literally, the “standing” prayer. The nineteen prayers (seven on Shabbat and festivals) that constitute the main body of Jewish liturgy; also known as t’filah and the shemoneh esrei. 
  • Bimah — The raised platform or pulpit in most synagogues where the service is conducted. 
  • Chavurah (plural, chavurot) — An independent, participant-led Jewish fellowship group; or, a semi-independent study or prayer group within a synagogue. 
  • Chumash (from chameish, “five”) — The Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses), or a book containing the Pentateuch. 
  • Haftarah — Literally, “completion.” The reading of the section from the Prophets for a particular Shabbat. 
  • Halachah —Jewish law. 
  • Havdalah — Literally, “separation,” “distinction.” The ceremony that ends Shabbat. 
  • Hazzan — The cantor, also known as the shaliach tzibur, the community prayer leader. 
  • Kashrut — The Jewish dietary laws. 
  • Kiddush — The prayer accompanied by wine or grape juice and recited before dinner on the eve of the Sabbath or a festival, to inaugurate the day and proclaim its sanctity; also, the food and wine that is customarily served in the synagogue after morning services on the Sabbath or festival. 
  • Kosher — Food that may be eaten, according to the Jewish dietary laws. 
  • Maariv — Evening prayer service. 
  • Mincha — Afternoon prayer service. 
  • Mitzvah (plural, mitzvot) — An obligation of Jewish life. 
  • Musaf — The “additional” prayer in traditional liturgy. Recalls the ancient sacrificial rites of the Temple (the musaf or additional sacrifices) and repeats some themes covered earlier in the liturgy. 
  • Parasha — The Torah portion of the week. Also sometimes referred to as the sedra. 
  • Shabbat — The Sabbath. 
  • Sh’ma — A central prayer of the worship service. Essentially a statement of faith which is derived from Deuteronomy, Chapter 6: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” 
  • Shul — The Yiddish word for “synagogue.” 
  • Simcha — “A joyous event.” Often used to refer to a bar or bat mitzvah ceremony, or other celebrations. 
  • Tallit — A prayer shawl. 
  • T’filah — The major section of Jewish liturgy, also known as the Amidah (standing prayer). The generic term for Jewish worship. 
  • Torah — Literally, “teaching” or “direction.” Narrowly, the first part of the Hebrew Bible that is read from the scroll; broadly, all Jewish sacred literature and by implication, all of Judaism. 
  • Tzedakah — The mitzvah of sacred giving. 
  • Yad — The thin pointer shaped at the end like a hand, which a reader of Torah uses so as not to lose his/her place. 
Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784