A perspective on B’nei Mitzvah and Community:
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Is a Community Observance. It is not by coincidence that we choose to hold this initiation ceremony in public. To be a Jew means to live within a covenantal relationship—not only with God but with other Jews as well. For thousands of years, since the time of Abraham, we have entered a covenant with God. Each of us affirms this Covenant when we become the age of B’nei Mitzvah. Bar/Bat Mitzvah marks the entry of the child as a full-fledged member of the community. The awarding of an aliyah, (“being called to the Torah”), is a gift of the Jewish people. For this reason, the marking of the child’s coming of age takes place in the synagogue—the communal home.
The Meaning of Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Is Enduring Only If It Takes Place within a Context of Continued Jewish Growth. Being a Bat or Bar Mitzvah is not the experience of a lifetime. It is a lifetime experience—a state of being that remains with us throughout our lives. Indeed, the true measure of performance comes not on the day one becomes a Bat or Bar Mitzvah but in the days that follow. In other words, becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah should be thought of as a Jewish “commencement,” marking not an end point but a beginning—a beginning of a lifetime of mitzvot, a beginning of a lifetime of learning. As such, it is our firm belief that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration is validated and enhanced by a commitment to continue religious education vis-à-vis Makom Hebrew High School and our USY chapter.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone in one’s Jewish life, connecting him or her to the Jewish people and its history and traditions. Our goal is to integrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child and family into the larger synagogue community, so that the family’s simcha is also the community’s celebration. From the moment a child joins our community, he or she embarks on this sacred journey which is designed to guide him/her toward Jewish learning, mitzvot, prayer and acts of kindness. Our family focused program fosters communication between parents and their children. In this way, the entire family may engage in opportunities to define and experience their Jewish identity.
This process requires a significant commitment from the children and their families.
In an effort to show that ______________(child’s name) understands the importance of his/
her relationship with God, with others, and his/ her own responsibilities as a B’nai
Mitzvah candidate, ________________(child’s name) and his/her parent(s) ________________(parent(s) name) pledges to the following:
1) Service Attendance laid out in the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook
2) School Attendance laid out in the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook
2) Family Education Attendance laid out in the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook
4) Mitzvah Project laid out in the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook
3) Responsible Behavior The student understands that his or her actions reflect
their relationships with God, others, and his or her self. Hence, the student will
take responsibility for his or her actions.
4) Communication with B’nei Mitzvah Staff: Each person promises to commit to ongoing dialogue with B’nei Mitzvah tutor and Hazzan Holzer regarding the progress of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student and any thoughts and concerns they might have. Parents will assist the tutoring process by being a strong source of encouragement for their child.
This Bar/Bat Mitzvah Covenant is a binding agreement between the Jacksonville Jewish Center and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child and family.
____________________ _____________________ _____________________
Student Parent Parent(s)