What is a B’nai Mitzvah?
B’nai Mitzvah (plural of Bar or Bat Mitzvah) is a Jewish celebration of a person’s coming of age. At Judaism Your Way, we believe there’s an exquisite beauty and power in drawing on Jewish spirituality to honor and celebrate this time of life.
The Open Tent B’nai Mitzvah program:
- offers students an opportunity to explore Judaism through many lenses;
- helps students develop their own Jewish spiritual tool kit;
- mentors students in figuring out their own answers to their core Jewish questions;
- supports students and parents in developing an authentic coming of age ceremony that honors the student’s connection to Judaism.
Judaism Your Way’s innovative Open Tent B’nai Mitzvah program is flexible, but is typically a two-year experience designed for students entering grades 6-8. Year One is a year-long class offered in Denver and Boulder and Year Two consists of mentoring with a rabbi to prepare for and celebrate the B’nai Mitzvah.
The Open Tent class and one-on-one Bar Mitzvah preparation was genuinely responsive to our son’s interests, enabling him to have an experience that was fun and engaging, while also deep and meaningful.”
ABOUT THE OPEN TENT B’NAI MITZVAH CLASS
The Year One class takes a creative approach to learning about Jewish spirituality, history, culture, and customs. Our curriculum engages students’ physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves by emphasizing the rich diversity within Judaism, and helping students discover Judaism their way.
We accomplish this through having FUN! Our classes incorporate experiential learning, cooking, text study, theater, animated shorts about the Torah, art, music, meditation, and deep discussions about students’ lives. For students with little formal Jewish educational background, the class is a comprehensive introduction. For students with more background, it touches on what they might have previously learned on a more sophisticated level and with creative twists.
Students may choose to take the class even if they are not planning to have a ceremony, but class participation is required for students who wish to work with Judaism Your Way for ceremony preparation. Click here to to learn about your responsibilities while your student is in our class.
2017/2018 Instructors, Class Locations, and Meeting Times:
Classes meet weekly over two semesters, corresponding to the Denver and Boulder public school calendars as well as the Jewish calendar.
- Rabbi Brian Field, Tuesdays from 4:30 – 5:45 pm at the Washington Park United Church of Christ. Please note that Rabbi Brian’s class is limited to a maximum of 10 students. Spaces will be reserved on a first come, first served basis.
- Dr. Caryn Aviv, Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:45 pm at the Mizel Museum.
- Rabbi Jessica Marshall, Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:45 pm at the Boulder JCC.
ABOUT THE CEREMONY PREPARATION
At Judaism Your Way, we know that students have different learning styles, scheduling constraints, and needs when considering a B’nai Mitzvah experience. We also know that families are really busy – our team of rabbinic mentors are part of families, too! We offer five ceremony options at three mentoring levels with different time commitments so you can choose the option that works best for you and your learning style.
Five Ceremony Options
The Year Two ceremony preparation offers five different ways to celebrate a B’nai Mitzvah: Traditional Service, Four Worlds/Service, 13 Challenges, Research Project, and Storahtelling.
The student recites blessings over the Torah, reads/chants a part of the Torah, gives a teaching talk, and lead parts of the service. Most students master Hebrew to read selected prayers and from the Torah scroll and some do so from transliteration. Our rabbis do not provide Hebrew tutoring but are happy to recommend local tutors if that is desired.
The student investigates their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves. A service is then created by the rabbi that corresponds to the student’s description. The student therefore experiences their B’nai Mitzvah service as something that corresponds to who the student is, not just something that’s handed down as a tradition.
The student proposes 13 Challenges to accomplish and a timeline for completing them. At least four of the challenges need to have a Jewish connection. The B’nai Mitzvah service consists of
a presentation of the challenges including a reflection by the student of the experience of taking them on.
The student explores in depth some aspect of Jewish spirituality and/or peoplehood. The service consists of the student’s presentation of what they have learned.
The student transforms the Torah portion into a theatrical presentation, incorporating the skills of midrash (Torah interpretation), character development, and bringing the Torah portion to life.
Three Mentoring Options
Neshama (Spirit): offers 6-8 months of preparation including meeting with a rabbi once a month. Many Neshama students engage with Jewish text in English translation and transliteration. The ceremony can focus on the research project or 13 Challenges track.
Lev Patuach (Open Heart): offers 8-10 months of preparation including meeting with a rabbi once a month. The ceremony can focus on any of the ceremony tracks.
Nefesh (Soul): offers 8-10 months of preparation including meeting with a rabbi twice a month. The ceremony can focus on any of the ceremony tracks.
Click here to learn more about the three mentoring options and their costs.
No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Payment plans or reduced rates can be arranged. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-320-6185 for more information.
B’nai Mitzvah fees:
The tuition for the year-long Open Tent B’nai Mitzvah class is $1,800* Click here to register.
The fee for B’nai Mitzvah preparation and officiation for local students is between $2,000 and $3,500 depending on the level of mentorship you choose*. For families with multiple children enrolled in the class or preparing for a ceremony, we are happy to offer a $500 discount. Click here to register.
*No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Payment plans or reduced rates can be arranged. Please contact email@example.com or 303-320-6185 for more information.