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What happens at a Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah service at TST?

We usually celebrate this day when a child is 13 years old (7th grade, or beginning of 8th grade). We gather together on a Shabbat (Saturday) morning, most often honoring two children who are paired for the service. Those celebrating Bar/Bat/BE Mitzvah help to lead our Shabbat morning service, teach their own interpretation of Torah, and chant from the Torah scroll and Haftarah (selections from the books of Prophets).

While our synagogue community has a most commonly traveled path of preparation, at TST we understand that each child and each family is unique. We are happy to work one-on-one with each family in order to create a Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience that is a reflection of each child’s heart and spirit, so that each will become a leader of prayer and a teacher of Torah in the most authentic way.

How does the child prepare for their Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah Journey?

At TST, preparation for this moment—and beyond—is integrated into the learning our children are engaged from the earliest ages of our education programs. Family learning opportunities and community building as part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah path are woven into our Religious School and Bar/Bat Mitzvah Journey to the Bimah experience throughout 5th-6th grades. We begin anticipating children’s individual Bar/Bat Mitzvah journeys at the end of 4th grade, when families take part in a process to find a celebration date for their child. The individual path to leader our service continues with tutoring and personal meetings beginning in 6th or 7th grade. Our students’ learning continues in our AISH teen learning program around and beyond the milestone Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience, through their high school years.

How is each student’s individual path designed?

In the final year leading up to each child’s celebration of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, each child is matched with a tutor who guides them along the path of mastering the prayers, Torah reading, and Haftarah reading that they will lead that day. Along the course of that year, every student works closely with each of our clergy, in a series of personal meetings in which our rabbis and cantor helps them to write a Drash (their own Torah teaching) and to practice the skills they will need to stand before our community with confidence. Our clergy work closely with parents as well, to make sure that this is a day of meaning that honors each family.

What are the Torah Blessings and who says them? 

One of the most special tasks at a Shabbat morning service is the honor of being called up for an “aliyah” (literally, “going up”), to recite the traditional blessings over the reading of Torah. In our community, at a service marking a Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah, the Torah reading is typically divided into four sections for each child celebrating. Parents choose whom to invite for these honors in conversation with our clergy. The traditional blessings are below in Hebrew, transliteration, and translation, followed by alternative versions of the blessings in English. 

Download the Aliyah 

Blesing Before the Torah
Blessing After the Torah


Mazel Tov! Let's Celebrate!

There is no one single way to celebrate following a Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah service, and our TST families make a wide range of choices about how to mark this occasion in ways that honor their child and their family: Temple-wide potluck “kiddush” lunches, outings or trips with friends or family, dance parties, group social action projects, and more. As you begin to plan your celebration, we would be happy to help you think about what could be the best fit for your family or can put you in touch with other families who have made similar choices. If you would like to take part in our Community Kiddush initiative or to rent our social hall for your celebration following the service, please contact Karen Edwards, Assistant to the Clergy.

Wed, August 4 2021 26 Av 5781