The days and years leading up to a child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be some of the most exciting times for families. The leadership of Sha'arey Shalom shares the joyful anticipation of each particular family and does everything possible to ensure that when a child is called to the Torah as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, it will be a joyous and meaningful milestone, bringing to each student a sense of fulfillment and pride.
Hallmarks of a personalized Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Sha'arey Shalom include:
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah takes place within the Saturday morning service. Only one student is assigned to each Shabbat.
- Families study the designated weekly Torah portion together to enable the student to choose the verses that are most meaningful to them.
- The music of the service is joyous and participatory, led by the Cantor and our volunteer Choir, usually with piano and guitar. The musical style can be personalized to reflect a family's Jewish expression and heritage by incorporating favorite "camp songs", Israeli music, Ladino songs, or even no instruments for a more traditional sound.
- All students receive extensive one on one training with the Cantor and the Rabbi.
- Students choose a Mitzvah Project to personalize the meaning of becoming responsible for the observance of mitzvot. Sample Mitzvah Projects are: raising funds or collecting items for a cause; working with a special needs child; interviewing a holocaust survivor; cooking and working at a Soup Kitchen.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah literally means "Son and Daughter of the Commandment". Throughout most of Jewish history, it has represented a ceremonial recognition that a young person has accepted responsibility for the observance of mitzvot and for the well being of our people. The Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremony, however, is not the ultimate stage in Jewish learning. We at Sha'arey Shalom are committed to educating our students through the tenth grade, when Confirmation class is held; and, beyond Confirmation, we encourage every member to participate in adult education. Lifelong study is the natural complement to Bar/Bat Mitzvah.