The following is a checklist based upon the timeline for the B’nei Mitzvah process. Professional staff members’ names are bolded when they begin to play a one on one role in the process.
When your child concludes the Fourth Grade . . .
You will receive a copy of the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s B’nei Mitzvah Manual and receive an invitation to the first Family B’nei Mitzvah Education Program and orientation meeting for children and parents where important information will be disseminated and questions answered about the process. Parents are responsible for the information in the manual and adherence to synagogue policies regardless of attendance at the meeting. Following receiving your Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, you will be expected to adhere to the synagogue attendance policy mentioned above.
With one year to go . . .
- Hazzan Holzer, B’nei Mitzvah Coordinator, will contact you to set up a time for an individual family meeting, and arrange a tutorial schedule for your child with David Wolinsky. At the initial meeting, he will review with you the synagogue policies found in the B’nei Mitzvah Handbook, and answer specific questions about preparation for and celebration of Bar/Bat Mitzvah at the Center. At the same meeting, Hazzan Holzer will furnish the family with resources for a Mitzvah Project.
- A Bar/Bat Mitzvah fee of $600 is billed to the family, and helps to subsidize the cost of materials, training, and family education programs. Additional tutoring, if desired, is at one’s own expense. Parents will receive a statement from the synagogue regarding payment of this fee approximately twelve months before the date.
- Families must ensure that their child owns a copy of Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, which may be purchased through Hazzan Holzer. We also encourage parents to purchase a humash for Torah reading as basic elements of a young person’s Jewish library. These volumes may be purchased through the Center.
- Please contact Margo’s Catering for information about Shabbat dinners, kiddushes and parties, and contact you to assist in the formulation of plans approximately a year before for the event.
With six months to go . . .
- Families set up a meeting with Hazzan Holzer to discuss how tutoring is progressing. It is at this meeting that we will determine a realistic timeline for leading extra parts of the service (Kabbalat Shabbat, Musaf, etc). We will also get updates on Mitzvah projects and will review any Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitation information (wording of the invitation, who to invite, etc.) at this time. Families will sign our Media Release form at this time.
- Contact Lori Schoettler, Director of Finance & Operations, to discuss room rentals and to assist with any other booking needs here at the Center.
With three months to go . . .
- Kippot should be ordered to ensure arrival in time for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Parents must purchase tallit and tefillin for boys, and those girls who have chosen to take upon themselves either or both of these mitzvot. Kippot and other ritual items may be purchased from our Sisterhood Gift Shop.
- Register for other items at the Sisterhood Gift Shop.
- Families may coordinate utilizing our Children of the Holocaust and Bnai Tzedek Programs (see pg. 25-26 of manual)
- B’nei Mitzvah students begin to meet with Rabbi Tilman to work on their D’var Torah and personal prayer (see p. 18 for more information). Boys, and those girls who plan to accept upon themselves the obligation of tefillin, learn how to put on tefillin with Rabbi Tilman. Contact Rabbi Tilman.
- Parents may email firstname.lastname@example.org with information about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and a photo of him/her for the synagogue bulletin and yearbook. Photo release forms are available in the Hazzan’s office or online. Parents may also contact the Jacksonville Jewish News on their own for the JJN’s Announcements page.
- Parents begin to work on the distribution of honors at the service to family and friends. It is imperative that Hebrew parts be distributed sufficiently in advance for individuals to prepare properly. As Ritual Director, David Wolinsky ensures that those invited to read Torah are capable of doing so (See “Distribution of Ritual Honors, p. 21).
- Please contact Danielle Berke, Rabbi Lubliner’s Assistant, to set up an appointment to meet with Rabbi Lubliner, and send you a biographical questionnaire for your son or daughter to complete. It is important that youngsters, rather than parents, complete the form. Please submit it to the rabbi’s office a week in advance of the meeting. The questionnaire affords Rabbi Lubliner an opportunity to learn more about a child’s hobbies, likes/dislikes, accomplishments and hopes before meeting with the family. The chance to chat informally with a youngster before his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah enables Rabbi Lubliner to create a personal charge on the bimah more reflective of the child’s interests and character.
With one month to go . . .
- Finalize the distribution of honors, and designate the Friday evening presenters on behalf of the Board of Directors, Sisterhood and Men’s Club. Present completed honor forms to Hazzan Holzerno fewer than four weeks prior to the event. Once this form is received, the names of those receiving ritual honors can be incorporated into a Bar/Bat Mitzvah pamphlet for distribution at services. Hazzan Holzer will furnish parents with such. Families then arrange for photocopying, and return the booklets to the synagogue for placement on the seats of the Main Sanctuary. Presenters on behalf of our Kadima Youth Group can be selected as well.Hazzan Holzer can furnish you with an updated Kadima enrollment list.
- Schedule a dress rehearsal if you would like. This is an opportunity not only for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah to run through the service, but for the entire family to go through the nuts and bolts of what to do, where to stand, etc. This choreography will be highlighted earlier in the B’nei Mitzvah process through our Family Education Program.
With one week to go . . .
- One week ahead, the family attends and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah participates in the Shabbat afternoon minha/ma’ariv B’nei Mitvah who are also Ramah Darom campers will receive a siddur and a congratulatory letter from the Director at this time. Rabbi Tilman will confer a blessing upon your child at this service.
- Confirm picture taking time with Hazzan Holzer to ensure that no other activities are scheduled at that time in the Sanctuary. While the session may be scheduled at any time prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, picture taking must be COMPLETED a half hour prior to Friday evening services the weekend of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
- Parents may submit a personalized parental blessing to Hazzan Holzer. There will be a Family Education seminar focused on this subject and parents are more than welcome to submit prior to this point!!
- Order soft candies (Sunkist fruit gems are always recommended). These can be purchased in bulk at any BJs/Costco.
- On the Thursday before the celebration, the family attends and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah participates in the weekday shaharit It is appropriate for male family members other than the Bar Mitzvah to wear tallit and tefillin as well. Extra pairs of synagogue-owned tefillin are available for this purpose. Rabbis Lubliner and Tilman, Hazzan Holzer or David Wolinsky will be happy to assist those present with a quick refresher on how to put on tefillin. Rabbi Lubliner bestows a blessing upon the parents of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah at the Thursday morning service.
Mazel Tov! The Shabbat of Your Child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Has Arrived!
One month after . . .
- Schedule follow-up meetings for both child and parents with Hazzan Holzer to discuss overall B’nei Mitzvah process. We appreciate hearing feedback from both the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student as well as parents once the process winds down. An evaluation form will be available following the Bar/Bat Mitzvah weekend.
- Write up a brief description of your Mitzvah project to include in our Mitzvahweb link.