Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish rite that provides a young person with the opportunity to learn at an individual level and make a commitment to a more adult approach to their Jewish identity. Our program tries to create a meaningful experience with realistic expectations. In addition, we try to embrace a student’s learning style while recognizing that learning Hebrew for prayer book fluency and the opportunity to read from the Torah directly are core competencies that all find authentic.
During the 12 months that precede a Bar/Bat Mitzvah (which should be scheduled on or after a child’s 13th birthday), students participate in a weekly tutorial with the rabbi and/or a rabbinic student.. During these sessions, students engage in learning activities and projects, reading from the prayer book and practicing their Torah and Haftarah portions. It is a goal that students also learn to translate directly from the Torah scroll.
It has been our long-standing policy that a child be enrolled in the Valley Temple Religious School for two years prior to their becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah (unless they attend a Jewish day school, but Temple membership is still required). This policy may be relaxed when a child is affiliating from out of town, at the discretion of the rabbi.