The Reform Temple of Forest Hills

B’nai Mitzvah (5th-8th Grade)

Celebrating our young adults as they embrace Torah and Judaism is a powerful and joyful occasion. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah, which marks the passage from childhood to adulthood in the Jewish faith, is a celebration of Jewish identity and exploration! At RTFH, we recognize how important and memorable this milestone can be for a young person and their family.

Our B’nai Mitzvah services are tailored to each young adult’s individuality, personality, and learning needs. We celebrate each family for their diversity and uniqueness. We believe that all Jewish students can become B’nai Mitzvah, and every family member can participate fully in all of the rituals irrespective of their religion.

“B’nai Mitzvah” (the plural form of “Bar Mitzvah” and “Bat Mitzvah”)  means a “child of God’s commandments.” A B’nai Mitzvah service demonstrates a commitment to the 4 pillars of Judaism – Torah, Spirituality, Repairing the World, and Community.

At RTFH, our B’nai Mitzvah lead a service that is a culmination of their study, preparation, and connection to the faith, history, and traditions of Judaism. Typically, a student will chant from the Torah scroll, offer a d’var Torah with insights on that week’s Torah portion, and lead the congregation in prayer surrounded by their loved ones and Temple family. Following the service, the B’nai Mitzvah celebrates this milestone together with family and friends.

Save the Date!

By the middle of 5th grade, your child’s B’nai Mitzvah date will be reserved. Depending on when in the calendar your child’s birthday lands, their B’nai Mitzvah may be scheduled when they are in 7th or 8th grade, academically. Religious School is familiar with accommodating summer birthdays, learning differences, and all kinds of families, so that there is nothing detracting from this joyous occasion for you and your child.

Who Wants to Party?!

Did you know RTFH has event space available to rent for your B’nai Mitzvah?  Check out our Events Space page.

Now What?

Focused individual study begins with Rabbi and Cantor, usually six months before the B’nai Mitzvah date.  Students will meet weekly with the Cantor to begin learning their prayers, Torah, and haftarah.

A family meeting with Rabbi Mark Kaiserman is scheduled about 4 months before the big day so that the family can start planning the specifics of their involvement in the service, ask questions, and review honors.

After that, the student meets with the Rabbi to begin writing their d’var Torah, or Torah speech. These one-on-one sessions allow the student to complete their speech, incorporating thank you’s and highlights of their Mitzvah project.

Each student receives the opportunity to rehearse their speech, including a full rehearsal on the bimah.

Our B’nai Mitzvah Handbook is available here.

Click here for a list of Prayers and Blessings for the B’nai Mitzvah Student.