You are about to embark on one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in your family’s Jewish life. For students, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah represents a coming of age, an opportunity to recognize potential, develop leadership skills, connect to the larger community and shine in the presence of family and friends. For parents, it is a time of reflection on 13 years of parenthood, and an opportunity to anticipate new adventures in your child’s future.
During COVID-19, we have been celebrating our B’nai Mitzvah ceremonies on Zoom. Along with going virtual, we have made the following enhancements to the B’nai Mitzvah program:
- Have Ark, Will Travel: We will bring families the Torah and a portable ark for home use during the time of this pandemic.
- Drive By Hora: The Friday before the celebration, the Director of Education drives by the house and dances the hora around the B’nai Mitzvah student while social distancing.
- Video Hug: After the celebration, B’nai Mitzvah students are given a ‘video hug’ comprised of family and friends wishing them many blessings of congratulations.
Click here for our FAQ on Bar & Bat Mitzvah During COVID-19.
Click here for an update from the Rabbinical Assembly regarding COVID-19. Contact the Director of Education below for more information or to receive the Zoom link for B’nai Mitzvah services.
Unique Features of Our Program
All of us at Herzl-Ner Tamid want to help make this occasion everything you want it to be. Please feel free to call upon our staff for advice, support and counsel. Special components of our program include:
- A “Becoming a Leader” Trip based on experiential education and developing leadership capabilities.
- Students donning tefillin and tallit at the Sunday morning minyan prior to their Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience.
- Torah reading date three months after becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
- Putting the “mitzvah” into the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience with sustained social action projects.
- Interview a Holocaust survivor, Ethiopian Jew, or IDF soldier and present to the 7th Grade your findings.
Team of Support
The day your child accepts adult responsibilities of the Jewish faith is cause for celebration – and much preparation! Our Rabbi, Cantor, Director of Education, and team of teachers take special pride in preparing future Jewish leaders in our synagogue and community. Families work hard to help prepare their child for this lifecycle milestone. Each school year, teachers work diligently to provide a solid foundation in Hebrew, Jewish practices and customs, t’fillah (prayer studies), and preparing for life as a Jewish community member. Cantor Kurland teaches trope (melody) for both Torah and Haftarah readings, reviews the service prayers, and builds a student’s confidence in standing before a congregation. Our Rabbi helps the Bar/Bat Mitzvah understand and prepare a D’var Torah (speech) about the assigned Torah portion (parsha). The Torah Tutors who FRS students meet with on Tuesdays help your child practice and deliver their Torah portion. The entire community celebrates and welcomes your Bar/Bat Mitzvah into our Jewish community!
B’nai Mitzvah dates are assigned during the 5th grade year using a prescribed protocol at a meeting with the Director of Education and the B’nai Mitzvah Scheduler. Students must be enrolled in the Frankel Religious School to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah date at HNT. Boys must be at least 13 and girls at least 12 on the day of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Families meet with the Director of Education 12 months before the assigned Bar/Bat Mitzvah date to begin preparations for the upcoming activities and to learn more about the overall process. Lessons with the Cantor begin about 9 months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, and meetings with the Rabbi begin about 8 – 9 months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Meetings with our Operations Coordinator are also scheduled to prepare for the sanctuary and Feinberg Social Hall use.
Family participation in services, synagogue events, and Frankel Religious School are a part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child’s overall learning process. Families have a variety of opportunities to be a part of the HNT events, classes and programs held within the synagogue and school. The Women’s League Judaica Shop has a nice variety of tallit, kippot, yaddim, and other ritual items for your child’s special day and beyond.
B’nai Mitzvah Timeline
In addition to this timeline below, the Director of Education will regularly check in with families and students to monitor student progress. B’nai Mitzvah students will receive individualized tutoring at FRS on Tuesdays when FRS is in session in 6th and 7th grade. If needed, parents can hire an outside B’nai Mitzvah tutor to help with the preparation, at their own cost. Contact the Director of Education for a list of outside tutors. Students with Special Needs (IEP or 504 Plan) will follow an alternative timeline that best suits their learning pace. All students with a B’nai Mitzvah date at HNT will maintain regular enrollment and attendance at FRS during their 6th and 7th grade year on Tuesdays and Saturdays unless a pre-approved program of study is implemented as will be the case for students at JDS, SHA, or for students with special learning needs.
- Click here for an article about this time during the pandemic
- Click here for b’nai mitzvah resources from myjewishlearning.com
- Click here to order the Trope Trainer app to help prepare and study
- Click here for three rules for a better Bar or Bat Mitzvah
- Click here for a video on the blessing before reading Torah
- Click here for a video on the blessing after reading Torah
- Click here to download a siddur.
- Click here to document your important mitzvah project that makes a significant impact in the community.
- Click here to create an account with jchoice and see your mitzvah in action affect positive change.
- Click here to see how you can assist at Jewish Family Service in Seattle.
- Click here to volunteer at the Kline Galland home in Seattle.
- Click here for JNF (Jewish National Fund) Bar and Bat Mitzvah related social action programs in Israel.
Contact: Dr. Eliyahu Krigel, Director of Education