If you are looking for a spiritual and meaning-filled Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration, you have come to the right place! At Chabad, our goal is that this becomes a journey of personal and spiritual growth.
Our Rabbis are personally committed to making the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony- and its preperations- a tangible expression of its spiritual message. We work with you to make an event that is meaningful, with emphasis on the process of maturation, responsibility and Jewish identity.
"I have grown out of childhood. I am now ready to fulfill the covenant with G‑d by being responsible for performing the Mitzvot, the obligations of Jewish life." declares the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Thus, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Chabad is centered around 12 Readings from Biblical, Talmudic and Chassidic sources that articulate foundational Big Ideas. Over the courses of the year, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah explored these ideas with the Rabbi and, at the ceremony, reads these passages (in the original Hebrew) and describes its messages. Reading from the Torah is not a necessity for a Bar Mitzvah (contrary to popular opinion) so we prefer to direct the child'sefforts into exploring concepts likeCommunity, Purpose, Tenacity, Identity, Responsibility and Empathy that are reflected in these verses.
The Ceremony includes: Hebrew & English readings (which are direct expressions of the process of discovery), Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech, a representation of the Mitzvah Project that was worked on over the course of the preparation period, blessings and messages from family members, a
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration is not a formal prayer service centered around a Torah-reading. It's a free-standing Judaic celebration of your child's growth and discovery. We can design this ceremony and shape its schedule in a way which will maximize the Bar/Bat Mitzvah meaning and celebration. Families have typically chosen Sunday, late morning or early afternoon.
We can accommodate Saturday Evening Havdallah Ceremony (Havdallah is a short service that serves as a transition between Shabbat and the weekdays, and incorporates blessings over wine, fragrances and candles, respectively), Friday Night Shabbat Candle Lighting Service. As described above, although we don't center our celebrations around the Torah Reading on Shabbat morning, if a family prefers this option, we can accommodate that too.
THE PREPARATION PROCESS
*Please note this is only a guideline, certain adjustments will be made in an effort to accommodate the needs of your child
A Preliminary Meeting will be called approximately 8 months prior to the Big Day. Art the meeting, we'll walk the family through the entire Bar/Bat Mitzvah process and answer any questions. We'll identify your child's Jewish birthday (the Jewish calendar is different than our American Gregorian one) and choose a date for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration. Thr Bar/Bat Mitzvah will meet with his/her reading tutor, and the dates for study will be mapped out.
Over the next 8 months, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will meet weekly with his/her coach at Chabad, for approximately 1/2 hour. Three of the four meetings will be devoted to perfecting his/her diction/cadence with regard to ceremony's text. Once a month, a new Big Idea will be introduced and explored. At the end of each lesson, the student will document for him/herself the major points discussed, compiling thoughts which will later be used as the basis of his/her speech. Additionally, for each concept, we provide home-discussion ideas to keep the parents in the loop and to extend the learning experience.
Two weeks before the big day.... we're getting close! The Bar/Bat Mitzvah now reads fluidly and is ready to compose- hand in hand with the Rabbi- a speech for the ceremony which will crown this process.
The actual birth date is often different to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah party date. Of course, the birth date is the day on which the child is actually crossing out of childhood. To celebrate this, we schedule a visit during which the Rabbi helps to convey an appreciation of the day's magnitude. We do a Mitzvah together (put on Tefillin, give charity, recite a psalm), and say l'chaim with the family.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony combines spirituality, depth... with a good dose of pomp and fanfare!
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah reads 12 Torah Verses that describe 12 central ideas in Judaism. These are read in Hebrew, and then, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah shares with his/her guests the ideas that were explored, and its personalization and relevance to real life.
We also recite certain prayers and learn about their deeper meanings. For example, the Modeh Ani prayer, the 1st prayer we recite upon awakening in the morning, with the first blink of consciousness, reminds us to taker a moment to recognize our good fortune in being given another day, and to remember that G‑d gave us this day in order to be use it in a meaningful way. Parents and the Rabbi will discuss how many prayers to include.
Parents and grandparents (and anyone you choose) address your guests.
Fanfare, like a candy-throw, l'chaim!, presentation of a gift, all complete the day!