Scheduling B’nai/B’rit Mitzvot
How does the scheduling process work?
Families with children in fifth grade will be invited to participate when the scheduling process starts. We will send you an email with details and ask you to complete our scheduling questionnaire.
After the High Holidays, our B’nai/B’rit Mitzvah Coordinator will begin to organize the b’nai/b’rit mitzvah calendar. Each family is contacted before the calendar is set. Once this step is completed, JRC sends a confirmation letter to each family with the child’s b’nai mitzvah date and Torah portion.
Please Note: the entire b’nai/b’rit mitzvah class is scheduled together. It is essential that you submit your questionnaire by the deadline, and respond to follow-up calls and emails in a timely manner. Your cooperation will determine how smoothly and quickly the process goes.
Children of JRC members in fifth grade who will attend JRC’s Religious School for at least the two years prior to b’nai/b’rit mitzvah (fifth and sixth grades), plus the entire seventh grade year are eligible to become b’nai/b’rit mitzvah at JRC. This religious school requirement is waived for children who attend Jewish day schools.
Families must be members of JRC in good standing – this means that, not only have you renewed your membership for the current year, but that you are also up to date with all your financial commitments to JRC (dues, tuition, pledges, etc.).
If you owe money to JRC, it is essential that you settle your account as soon as possible, otherwise you will not receive a b’nai mitzvah date for your child at the same time as the rest of the class.
My child is the right age, and I’m a member in good standing, but I didn’t receive an invitation to participate in the scheduling process – what gives?
Our sincere apologies – it may be that you joined JRC after the process began, or for some reason, your child’s name didn’t come up on the birth date list. If you feel you’ve been left out of the process, please contact us at email@example.com so we can make things right.
My child has special needs or learning issues – can they have a b’nai mitzvah?
Of course! For students with special needs, your family should schedule a meeting with the clergy at least two to three years prior to the b’nai mitzvah year. In these cases, the competency assessment will individualized so as to be sensitive to each child’s needs. You might find that a traditional format (with lots of memorization and public speaking) may not be a good fit for your child. The clergy will be able to advise you so that you and your family can still honor this important right of passage.
Read this story about a family who was able to tailor their ceremony to include both their 12-year-old daughter and her older sister who has special needs.
Setting the Date
When are b'nai mitzvah held at JRC?
Typically, b’nai mitzvah dates are scheduled as close to the child’s thirteenth birthday as class size, distribution of birthdays, Jewish holidays, and the JRC schedule permit. Please note that they are not scheduled on Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons, Mondays, Thursdays, or during the months of July and August.
Will my child be sharing his/her b'nai mitzvah with another student?
Regardless of class size, we hope that families will offer to share b’nai mitzvah dates, reflecting the spirit of community that our congregation values so dearly.
What if I don't want to share my child's celebration with another family?
JRC strongly encourages that families consider holding a joint b’nai mitzvah service as an expression of our Reconstructionist commitment to community. A shared service can take some of the pressure off of the bar/bat mitzvah child, as well as strengthen camaraderie among members of the b’nai mitzvah class and their families and result in a larger and more joyful celebration. While sharing with another family may not be your first choice, the realities of class size and the calendar will sometimes mean that not every family will be able to have a “solo” bar or bat mitzvah service. As an added incentive to encourage partnering, JRC’s scheduling process will give priority to families who volunteer to partner.
When will we receive our child's date?
Our goal is to have the calendar set by the end of the calendar year, but this depends on the cooperation of every family.
What else do I need to know?
In 2013, JRC’s Board of Directors updated our policies regarding b’nai mitzvah – you can read them here.
The people behind the “curtain” are Co-B’nai Mitzvah Schedulers Deb Drache and Julia Talbot. If you have any questions regarding b’nai mitzvah at JRC, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why B'nai/B'rit Mitzvot?
Hebrew is a gendered language that doesn't always speak for the varied gender identities in our community. We use this language as many use pronouns: Bar Mitzvah for he/him, Bat Mitzvah for she/her, B'nai Mitzvah for they/them, and B'rit Mitzvah (entering the covenant of the mitzvot) for those for whom gender isn't an essential part of this ritual.