Posts Tagged: B’nai Mitzvah
Journal of Youth Engagement

An Intergenerational Shabbat Experience: Experimenting Toward Our Future



As a new clergy team, we have spent the last year listening to laypeople and collaborating on values-based goal-setting as we plan for our future. One area that has emerged as a priority is Shabbat worship.

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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What the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Is (and Is Not)



Last month – on the front page of the New York Times, no less – there was a lengthy article on the state of b’nai mitzvah ceremonies in the United States. This coverage came just days after the latest example of an over-the-top celebration outside Las Vegas, which featured an ostentatious display of dancers, lighting, and more. Perhaps you saw the video on YouTube. The newspaper article questioned – as we all do, I believe – how this rite of passage can become as meaningful and as moving as our ancestors intended. The article proceeds to highlight and applaud what is being termed the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, a program run by the Union for Reform Judaism, which aims to inject thought and scrutiny into the broader process of becoming b’nai mitzvah.

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“Reinventing The Bar Mitzvah” on HuffPost Live



On the heels of last week’s New York Times article on the Reform Movement’s efforts to revamp and reinvigorate b’nai mitzvah, HuffPost Live recently ran a great segment on the same topic, featuring the URJ’s own Rabbi Bradley Solmsen on a panel of guests. As Director of Youth Engagement, Rabbi Solmsen heads the Reform Movement’s […]

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The New Bar Mitzvah: Read All About It!



Just before Rosh HaShanah, the New York Times ran a story titled “Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith.” The piece introduces readers to the Reform Movement’s new B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, an initiative to reinvent the bar and bat mitzvah that began with 13 pilot congregations. The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las […]

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You Say You Want a (B’nai Mitzvah) Revolution?



We are hearing regularly from congregations who know that bar and bat mitzvah have tremendous potential and are thinking about challenging the assumptions of traditional b’nai mitzvah in search of more meaningful and transformative experiences and to help reduce the staggering rates of post-b’nai mitzvah dropout. The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution was launched a year ago […]

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A New Twist on Havdallah



by Rabbi Roger Lerner Havdallah is one of those ceremonies that I have found enriching, fun, and in little need of change. It’s a quick ceremony marking the end of Shabbat, with all of the hallmarks and symbols of a ritual embodying a full sensory experience, allowing the sacredness of Shabbat to flow into the regular week. […]

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Observations from a Bar Mitzvah Family Meeting in Columbus



by Rabbi Misha Zinkow It was evident to me when I sat down with the Greens that Isaac was not a happy camper. I’ve known him since he was about 4; he’s a great kid, an upbeat and cheerful child, and the son of communally-active and highly engaged parents. So an unhappy face on this […]

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Things I Love About B’nai Mitzvah



by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat I love the excited buzz in the synagogue before Shabbat morning services when one of our kids is going to be called to the Torah as b’nai mitzvah. I love the eager, nervous energy I feel emanating from the family. The parents, caught between the mundane organizational details they were worrying […]

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The 21st century B’nai Mitzvah



The Jewish Journal reported this week on the growing trend of teenagers exiting Jewish life once their b’nai mitzvah experiences come to an end – and what the Reform Movement is doing about it. Reporter Ryan Torok writes, When Isa Aron considers b’nai mitzvah today, she gets the impression that parents — and sometimes synagogues […]

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A Christian Bar Mitzvah?



by Anna Marx Jewish and Christian bloggers have been actively discussing the new show on TLC, “The Sisterhood,” where one family announced they are planning a “Christian bar mitzvah” for their son. While the Jewish world is wrestling with bringing the bar mitzvah ceremony into the 21st Century (some would say it takes a revolution!), […]

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Joining the Revolution: A B’nai Mitzvah Mom’s Story



by Jennifer B. Perlick Two years ago I realized, “Wow, my daughter’s bat mitzvah is coming up!” Of course, I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be really meaningful for her – and for me and the whole family – but I wasn’t super-inspired by the b’nai mitzvah ceremonies I was attending […]

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Reform Judaism Goes Back to School: What I’m Learning About Reform Jewish Education from College Students



by Rabbi Heath Watenmaker If you’re reading this article there is a good chance you belong to a Reform synagogue. Have you ever thought about what that means? Why do you belong to a Reform synagogue? Why are you a Reform Jew? What makes you a Reform Jew? Now, think about your children or grandchildren. […]

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Don’t Ban the Bar Mitzvah. Revolutionize It!



In a controversial blog post on Kveller.com that’s making waves within the Jewish community, rabbinical student Patrick Aleph proposed yesterday that the Jewish community dramatically rethink b’nai mitzvah, which he says are “not really worth anyone’s time or money.” Aleph, who studies at the Rabbinical Seminary International in New York City (and is not affiliated with any […]

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