Posts Tagged: B’nai Mitzvah

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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Project-Based Learning: “Judaism is a Practice”



I recently returned from the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) conference. The theme of the conference was Project-Based Learning, a methodology in which participants go through a process of inquiry in response to a complex real-world question, problem, or challenge. Ron Berger, an expert on Project-Based Learning and keynote speaker, shared an example from […]

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Bat Mitzvah, Revisited



As my daughter, a junior at a local university and living at home, was approaching her 20th birthday, I tried coercing her into chanting her bat mitzvah Torah portion again. Perhaps I was having another of my helicopter parent moments or I just wanted a chance to hold on to her childhood, I’m not sure. […]

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A Bracha for the Spouse Who Isn’t Jewish



by Rabbi Elias Lieberman Like many congregations within the Reform Movement, our community of 310 households has many interfaith families. Some 65% of the children in our education program have a parent who is not a Jew. In every case, however, these interfaith couples have made a decision to raise their children as Jews and […]

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The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Has Begun!



The Reform Movement’s B’nai Mitzvah Revolution is the widest reaching initiative ever, launched by the Movement to radically transform the entire B’nai Mitzvah experience. Earlier this month, the first set of pilot congregations participated in a weekend-long workshop with 65 professionals and lay leaders from 14 congregations including faculty and staff from Hebrew Union College’s […]

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Reflecting on Simchat Torah



Thanks to social media and electronic devices you can check in on Foursquare and read the Mishkan T’Filah on a handheld device at the same time. Yet for all the modern inventions, the Torah remains unaffected. I have had the honor of watching as a scribe slowly and meticulously writes the letters by hand and […]

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The Key to Meaningful Jewish Education: Relationship-Building



by Micah Ellenson “In a global world, there is unprecedented opportunity for relationship building, inter-connectedness, learning and meaning-making between and among Reform Jews across the globe,” Dr. Charles Edelsberg writes. Relationship-building between congregants and the institutions to which they belong is at the core of creating a meaningful Judaism in the 21st century. However, many […]

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Changing the Dynamic of Reform Jewish Education



The Jewish month of Elul is the perfect time for this symposium, and not just because  synagogues are opening of their religious school doors to young people and their parents for another year of Jewish learning. Elul is the very season of return. This month, in anticipation of the new year, we pause to recommit ourselves, […]

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Just Announced: Our 14 B’nai Mitzvah Pilot Congregations



The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution is here! This major new initiative is one of several strategies the Reform Movement is launching to address critical concerns about why so many teens leave congregational life after their b’nai mitzvah, and, too often, take their parents out the door with them. We’re thrilled to announce the 14 Reform congregations across […]

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Youth Engagement is Not a Curriculum – It’s THE Curriculum



by Rabbi Fred Guttman and Rabbi Andy Koren Here in Greensboro, N.C., we at Temple Emanuel have devoted much thought, time, and resources to youth engagement for more than a decade. The results have been impressive: We retain around 80% of our B’nai Mitzvah students though the end of 12th grade. Of those retained, some […]

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Galilee Diary: Other People’s Simchas



Praised are You, O Lord our God, who has freed me from the punishment (i.e. responsibility for the deeds) of this one. -Traditional parent’s blessing at a bar/bat mitzvah Here at Shorashim, a hilltop rural community of about 100 families (~450 people), a typical Shabbat morning service draws about 20-25 worshippers, all of them residents, […]

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