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B Mitzvah Program

 

"The world stands on three things –

study, worship, and acts of loving kindness."

Shimon the Righteous, Pirkei Avot 1:2

The Hill Havurah B Mitzvah program prepares our youth to assume their responsibilities as adult members of Hill Havurah and the larger Jewish community. The B Mitzvah ceremony is the culmination of a course of Judaic study that for most Hill Havurah youth begins in either our Gan Shalom Cooperative Preschool or our Yavneh on the Hill religious school.  [Note: B' is a plural form that encapsulates Bar and Bat.]

 

We also hope that the B Mitzvah ceremony will mark the beginning of students’ adult Jewish education, formal and informal, beginning with Hill Havurah teen programming and continuing through Chizuk at the end of the tenth grade. The B Mitzvah ceremony demonstrates a desire to live according to Jewish values and to find inspiration from the study of Torah, as well as an ability to actively participate in a Jewish worship service. The B Mitzvah is an early milestone in a lifelong process of defining a person’s identity as an American Jew in the 21st century.

 

Hill Havurah is an inclusive, independent Jewish community and seeks to support member families as they embark on a B Mitzvah program. Many families have found that celebrating their child’s B Mitzvah with Hill Havurah has been a powerful way to mark their child’s place in the community.

When a student reaches fifth grade, the family should attend the Fifth Grade B Mitzvah meeting where they will participate in a conversation about the entire process, what’s involved, how to register and get a date, and meet other families in the same stage.  If a student gets a late start, however, that is not a problem; Rabbi Hannah and the B Mitzvah coordinator are available to discuss enhanced preparations customized to the individuals’ needs.

Together with Rabbi Hannah, the student and family will embark on a B Mitzvah preparation program that includes exploration of one’s Jewish cultural identity, liturgical knowledge, and Jewish values, as well as service to the community. Our B Mitzvah Program is designed to encourage both the student becoming a B Mitzvah and their family thinking more intentionally about what it means for them to be Jewish and how they want to express that Judaism in their lives now and in the future.

 

Hill Havurah offers a program which combines communal study through participation in Yavneh classes, attendance at services, individual study through work with Rabbi Hannah, as well as individual tutoring from a Hill Havurah-approved tutor.

  • The sixth grade class at Yavneh will be divided between the study of the Hebrew needed to participate in a Shabbat morning service, and the study of Judaics and Jewish identity formation.
  • Each student enrolled in the B Mitzvah program will meet privately for up to 30 sessions with a tutor during the year before their B Mitzvah ceremony for training in Torah reading and prayers the family has selected, as well as meeting regularly with Rabbi Hannah to explore their Torah portion and work on their d’var torah (speech).
  • Over the course of the 2 years before their B Mitzvah, each student will be required to attend 9 Shabbat morning services (including a few B' Mitzvot of fellow students) and 3 Friday night services.

Every Hill Havurah Bar/Bat Mitzvah must reflect the celebrant's focus on three defining aspects of Jewish life and identity:

 

Torah -- An understanding of Jewish culture and history. Hill Havurah sets no requirement for a family’s or youth’s level of religious observance, but a Hill Havurah B Mitzvah ceremony must include an expression of the meaning the young person has found from studying Torah, reflecting on Jewish values, and participating in Jewish culture and ritual practice.  Each B Mitzvah candidate will, with the support of Rabbi Hannah, research, write, and deliver a d’var torah (literally, “words of torah”) on their Torah and Haftarah (prophetic reading) portions as well as other Jewish ideas or values that are meaningful to the candidate.

 

Avodah -- A connection with God or the spiritual dimension of life through participation in communal Jewish worship. A Hill Havurah B Mitzvah observance will include the calling of the young person to the Torah at a worship service. The young person will learn the blessings upon being called to the Torah, read from their Torah and Haftarah portions, and take an active role in leading other parts of the worship service. You can find recordings of many prayers from our Shabbat morning service at the following link: www.hillhavurah.org/audio-prayers-.html#.

 

Gemilut Chasadim -- Each young person preparing to celebrate becoming a B Mitzvah with Hill Havurah will undertake a meaningful, hands-on, and ongoing volunteer commitment that serves the greater community. They will, with the support of their family, choose a Mitzvah Project that is meaningful to them.  Gemilut Chasadim, acts of loving-kindness, will help the student reflect on their responsibility to others and other Jewish values. Here are some ideas for you to consider​​​​.

 

Timeline of the B Mitzvah Process and other Specifics

Our "B Mitzvah Program Guide for Families" contains a timeline of the process and other specifics that every B Mitzvah family needs to know. If you have any questions, please contact the B Mitzvah Coordinator at rebecca.freund@hillhavurah.org.

 

Registration

Tuition for the B Mitzvah program is $3000 per year. The program includes up to 30 one-hour sessions of tutoring from a Hill Havurah-approved tutor.

 

To register for the B Mitzvah program, please first attend the Fifth Grade B Mitzvah Family meeting or contact the B Mitzvah Coordinator at rebecca.freund@hillhavurah.org.  Please note -- the program is open only to Hill Havurah members.

 

Financial Assistance 

Hill Havurah is an inclusive, welcoming community, and we work to make our programs accessible regardless of financial circumstances. If you need assistance, please contact Alan at alan.shusterman@hillhavurah.org.

 

 

 

Tue, November 29 2022 5 Kislev 5783