B'nei Mitzvah

We Work Hard To Provide A Warm And Welcoming Experience For The Whole Family

Temple Sinai provides a rich experience of Judaic growth, learning and meaning for our students and their families in preparation for the celebration of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Becoming a Bar, Bat, or Brit Mitzvah (an inheritor of the commandment) is a beautiful next step on the journey of Jewish living. At Temple Sinai, we create a service that focuses on the individual family and that highlights the achievement of the student in a non-stressful, joyous, and inclusive celebration of Jewish faith and values. Our B’nei Mitzvah services are on Shabbat morning at 10:30 am or we also offer a Minchah (Shabbat afternoon) service which begins some time between 4 – 5 pm. We strive to ensure that this milestone will be a joyful, educational, and meaningful experience for your family. Our clergy, staff and tutors are committed to making sure that this life cycle event is spiritually uplifting and that each and every family feels a personal connection with the Torah and with Temple Sinai.

Our team will work with you every step of the way, from ensuring that your child feels prepared and confident to coordinating a celebration at Temple Sinai to making the journey leading up to the day as meaningful as possible. If you’d like to request a date and talk more about the B’nei Mitzvah experience, please call or email Lauren Bubis at (303) 759-1827 or lauren@sinaidenver.org.

WHAT IS A BAR/BAT MITZVAH

Bar  and Bat are gendered words in Aramaic and Hebrew that mean “son” and “daughter,” respectively, and these words signify being a part of a category or group. Mitzvah is a Hebrew word that means “commandment.” Mitzvah is also commonly used to mean “good deed” because we know that the Torah’s commandments are intended to get us to perform good and loving deeds. Blending these two meanings, we see that Judaism is a belief system that commands us to do good in this world. Becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah means a young man or woman is now responsible for observing the commandments (mitzvot).

Judaism teaches that a person who reaches the age of thirteen is old enough both to be responsible for acting ethically and morally and can demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental rituals, practices and principles of Judaism. In acknowledgment of their commitment and dedication to Jewish living, the community gives the Bar/Bat Mitzvah the honor of leading us in Shabbat morning or afternoon worship and reading from the Torah. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is also counted in a minyan (the quorum of ten individuals that according to Jewish ritual law constitutes communal worship).

OUTLINE OF THE EXPECTATIONS

B’NEI MITZVAH SHABBAT MORNING AND MINCHAH (AFTERNOON) SERVICE EXPECTATIONS

  • Mastery of the liturgy (prayers) from Mishkan T’filah
  • 12-20 verses of Torah
  • 6-10 verses of Haftarah (Shabbat morning service only)
  • Attend at least 10 Shabbat evening, Shabbat morning or Shabbat afternoon Minchah services as a family over the course of the two years prior to date
  • Note: Each service will be tailored to accommodate a student’s special needs and abilities. Families with special circumstances should consult with the Rabbi to discuss their concerns.

It also is strongly encouraged that your child faithfully attends Religious School classes. A great deal of their preparation occurs in our fifth and sixth grade curriculum and other Religious School programs.


PRAYER SERVICE ATTENDANCE
Attending services will help foster an appreciation of the impact you can make on the community and help you feel comfortable in and a part of the Temple Sinai community. Attendance helps to create a familiarity and comfort with our Zwerin Sanctuary and Abrahams Family Chapel, the worship service and our Temple members. It also adds to your own personal kavanah, spiritual intention, and to the kevah, fixed prayer, of the community worship experience. We ask that you attend at least 10 Friday night Shabbat, Saturday morning Shabbat or Saturday afternoon Minchah services over the course of the two years leading up to your ceremony.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WONDERFUL SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

THE JEFFREY O. ROSENBERG MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
The Jeffrey O. Rosenberg Memorial Scholarship for Jewish Studies was created by his family to honor his memory and to sustain his passion for Jewish scholarship and culture. Each year this scholarship will support B’nei mitzvah tutoring for families who will benefit from the assistance.
This fund provides up to two students with $500 each for B’nei Mitzvah tutoring.
To apply: The student’s family should submit a letter to Doni Kaye, Director of Education, at doni@sinaidenver.org.


DANIEL AARON LIPSON MEMORIAL IST SCHOLARSHIP
To honor the memory and legacy of Daniel Lipson, his family is establishing the Daniel Aaron Lipson Memorial IST Scholarship. Daniel was a young man of tremendous talent and passion and he dearly loved his Israel Study Tour (IST) experience. Knowing that even though Temple Sinai grants each graduated Confirmation student $1,000 to help offset the costs of the 5-week tour (1 week in Poland and 4 weeks in Israel), the overall cost of the trip can be prohibitive to families with limited financial resources.
In order to help more students enjoy the tremendous IST experience, the Daniel Aaron Lipson Memorial IST Scholarship will grant $1,000 to two Temple Sinai IST participants each year. The scholarship will be a needs-based award.
To apply: The student’s family simply has to write a letter noting their need. Please send all applications to Lisa Thorner, Executive Director, at lisa@sinaidenver.org.

EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY

MITZVAH PROJECT
The goal of the Mitzvah Project is for the student to see firsthand how much they are needed and how much they can accomplish, not only for the future wellbeing of the synagogue, but for society in general. Temple Sinai’s goal is for each Bar/Bat Mitzvah to experience the pride of performing the mitzvot of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chasidim (caring acts that help others). Tzedakah is the sacred act of giving charitable gifts and performing helpful deeds; helping others who are less fortunate is an important mitzvah. Every Jewish family should discuss how they carry out this moral obligation. Jewish values teach us that performing acts of tzedakah is an especially appropriate way to celebrate a joyous occasion, such as becoming a Bar or a Bat Mitzvah.
When choosing a project, students should consider their own interests and/or special abilities. Feel free to be creative! The difference you can make by helping in the community is immeasurable. As a family, you have many choices as to how you want to get involved and where you want to concentrate your efforts. Our hope is that you spend some time learning and “doing” in a way you may not have had the chance to do before and that you create a tradition of helping others at special times in your lives.


TZEDAKAH
The Tzedakah part of your project can be accomplished in many ways. You can contribute a portion of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift money to the organization you are working with for your Mitzvah Project or there are several special funds at Temple Sinai to which you may consider donating. Many families have commemorated their children becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah by purchasing a leaf on Temple Sinai’s Tree of Life or a brick for the Brick by Brick Project.
Some raise money or donate a portion of their gift money to charities that are meaningful to them. Others use food baskets on the bimah, in lieu of flowers, which can be donated to the Weinberg Food Pantry at Jewish Family Service, or choose centerpieces or other decorations at the reception that can be donated after the event to other charitable causes.
The possibilities are endless, and the Temple staff is happy to help you come up with additional ideas. Remember, though, that financial contributions are only one form of tikkun olam. We encourage families to go out there and roll up your sleeves by actively getting involved in the cause you choose.


CONTRIBUTION TO ISRAEL EXPERIENCE
Temple Sinai believes in supporting our students in any way possible and showing them that we are as committed to their education as they are. To demonstrate our desire for and dedication to each student’s Jewish journey, Temple Sinai will make a financial contribution towards your child’s peer trip to Israel during High School, an experience that has a profound impact on a young adult’s Jewish identity. Temple Sinai will grant $1,000 to those students who complete Temple Sinai Confirmation program.
Those eligible can apply the grant to participate in Colorado’s IST (Israel Study Tour), the NFTY in Israel program, or any other Temple Sinai approved teen trip to Israel.

WORKING WITH THE RABBIS / B’NEI MITZVAH REHEARSALS

About 4 months before the actual service, the student’s family will be called to meet with one of the Rabbis. At the first meeting, the Rabbi will review both the meaning and logistics of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. The Rabbi will outline the various roles of participation, the parents’ prayers and the student’s D’var Torah (commentary and lesson on the Torah portion). The Rabbi will also set up a rehearsal schedule with the student. Each student will have three rehearsals with the Rabbi. During these rehearsals, the student will practice the service and the choreography, continue working on the D’var Torah, and read from the Sefer Torah (Torah scroll). The student should be ready to read/chant most of the Torah portion no later than the first rehearsal with the Rabbi. The first rehearsal with the Rabbi will be approximately four weeks before the service. That first reading gives the student a sense of accomplishment, motivation and pride. Students should have mastered their Haftarah portions no later than the second rehearsal.

B'nei Mitzvah Resources

Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a journey. The exploration of our sacred texts between rabbi and student is a sacred one. It takes commitment, but it also should open up a more mature and nuanced approach to Jewish study and exploring one’s own Judaism in the 21st century. It is also a family transition as a member of the household reaches a new stage of responsibility and accountability.
This page will house resources for B’nei Mitzvah families that relates to the B’nei Mitzvah Process. These resources are meant to help us focus on the rich heritage of Judaism and the meaning we can derive and build throughout our lives and make sure that we acquire the necessary skills and an appreciation for the beauty of the holy Hebrew language and the sacred melodies of our tradition.

Listen to the prayers that we sing, chant, and read at Temple Sinai.

Learn to Chant Torah

Learning to chant Torah doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. Whether you are one of our wonderful bar/bat mitzvah students or an adult learner wanting to take on a new learning endeavor, YOU CAN DO IT! 

Click here to listen to audio recordings of the Torah and Haftarah trope, from Behrman House’s The Art of Cantillation.

Purchase a copy of The Art of Torah Cantillation, Vol. 1: A Step-by-Step Guide to Chanting Torah and learn to chant Torah.

Purchase a copy of The Art of Cantillation, Vol. 2: A Step-by-Step Guide to Chanting Haftarot and M’gilot and learn to chant Haftarah.

Trope, or Cantillation, serves three main purposes:

  1. Trope provides a MELODY to our ancient texts, preserving a tradition that goes back hundreds if not thousands of years, providing a musical illustration of the words.
  2. The trope tells you where the ACCENT falls on any Hebrew word. 
  3. Finally, trope provides a system of PUNCTUATION. Because the Torah scroll itself is only written with consonants, there could be many ways to interpret where sentences begin and end. And that’s exactly how it was long ago. Different communities would divide up the sentences in their own ways. By the end of the 9th century of the Common Era, an accepted, standardized punctuation to the Torah was adopted, which is the one we use today!

TUTORS

Approximately one year prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, each family should contact a tutor from the approved list of tutors and begin making arrangements for private tutorial lessons (the cost for private tutoring is in addition to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah fee and is arranged with the tutor). The number of tutorials will be determined by your child’s ability to read Hebrew. Mastery of the Shabbat liturgy easily can be accomplished through consistent participation in Religious School and regular attendance at Shabbat services, so your child should be mainly focusing on learning his/her Torah portion.

Please download our B’nei Mitzvah Handbook to view our list of recommended tutors.

 

Our Clergy Are Here For You

The Temple Sinai community is here to support you through all of life’s moments from big to small. We provide each family with a unique and personalized experience, guided by Jewish wisdom and tradition. Please let us know how we can help guide you through this meaningful moment.

If you have any questions or would like to talk more about how we mark moments with meaning together, please contact Rabbi Rheins or Rabbi Shields.

Note that for those who are Temple Sinai members, there is no clergy fee for any life cycle ceremony.

Rabbi Michael Shield

Associate Rabbi

Ready to get started?

If you’d like to request a date and talk more about the B’nei Mitzvah experience, please call or email Lauren Bubis at (303) 759-1827 or lauren@sinaidenver.org