1. B’nai Mitzvah at T&V
3. Preparation and Study
4. Setting a Date/Fee
5. A Gift
7. Kiddush and Reception
13. Family Participation
14. Torah Reading
15. Aliyot and Honors
16. Special Needs
Preparing for Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
B’nai Mitzvah at T&V
Mazal Tov upon reaching this milestone in your child’s life!
We look forward to sharing your simcha and celebrating with you. The ceremony in celebration of this joyous event is a sacred rite in Jewish life and should be approached with serious thought and preparation. We hope that the following will make the experience more enjoyable for you and your family.
* Girls must have passed the 12th anniversary of their birth on the Jewish calendar; Boys the 13th anniversary.
* The family must have been members of Town and Village Synagogue for a minimum of three years.
* The Bar/ Bat Mitzvah must have been trained and prepared by the rabbi and cantor. They may have additional outside help, and in special circumstances, they can be trained by others, but their chanting and commentary must be approved by the cantor and rabbi.
Preparation and Study
At Town and Village Synagogue, Bar/Bat Mitzvah training is provided by the synagogue clergy. All children will study individually with Cantor Postman to prepare the chanting of the Haftarah. The cantor will also help the bar or bat mitzvah and members of their family who may want to chant from the Torah on this occasion. Rabbi Sebert will work personally with each child to prepare a speech commenting on the Torah or Haftarah portion. In addition, there will be family programs during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year of preparation. Families are encouraged to participate in Shabbat services all year to enhance the experience of their child’s entering Jewish adulthood, and to join a morning minyan service from time to time to experience this important element of community, prayer and devotion.
Setting a Date/ Fee
At Town and Village Synagogue, each child of a synagogue member enjoys his or her own Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. The date for the bar or bat mitzvah service is usually set a few years in advance – when the child is in fourth or fifth grade. Upon confirming a set date with the cantor, the synagogue office will add $1,000 to the family’s membership invoice reflecting the costs of individual study with Rabbi Sebert and Cantor Postman as well as extra support services.
Upon the completion of your child’s studies, it is customary for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family to give the synagogue a gift reflecting both the occasion and the personal support provided by the rabbi, the cantor and other members of the synagogue.
Guests should be advised to arrive by 9:30 (especially if they will be receiving an honor during the Torah service).
Our Ritual Committee has prepared a card to insert with the invitations. This card provides information about our congregation, appropriate dress and Shabbat observance to help your guests feel more at home.
Kiddush and Reception
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah family provides a Kiddush for the community in the Bierman Social Hall after the service. Kiddush options from approved caterers are available at a number of price points. Please contact Sara Alperstein firstname.lastname@example.org. You may choose to use an alternative caterer, but they must have a certificate of Kashruth and insurance approved by the Rabbi. We will need to know the caterer’s requirements for the day so that we can coordinate our staff and volunteers. Of course, the laws of Shabbat must be observed.
Most families use the Bierman Social Hall for a reception after Kiddush. This too can be arranged through Sara Alperstien. If your family prefers to have a reception elsewhere, we ask that you keep in mind the religious significance of the day and that your reception be guided by Jewish tradition.
Many families order inscribed Kippot for this celebration. Kippot should be brought into the synagogue office on the Friday before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah (we have baskets available). Please provide bobby pins and lace head coverings for the women as well.
The synagogue produces a pamphlet with a description of the service and includes a short paragraph about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Please email the rabbi or cantor a brief biography (250-300 words in length) two months before the event.
Photographs may not be taken on Shabbat. You can arrange to have pictures taken at a “dress rehearsal” before the event. Rabbi Sebert or Cantor Postman will arrange this final rehearsal in the sanctuary the Thursday evening prior to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah Sabbath service.
There is a tradition to toss candy at the person celebrating a simcha, symbolic of our sweet wishes. If you would like to do this at your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, please inform the ritual committee. We will provide the candy and distribute to the first 2-3 rows of the sanctuary.
During the week prior to the celebration, a general run-through of the choreography of the Shabbat service will take place. Most of the focus will be on your child, but we want all family members to feel comfortable as well.
Family members may want to share in the simcha by reading Torah. We are glad to have this happen and will do everything to assist you. One of the clergy or a member of the congregation will be available to teach a short Torah reading for novices. We request that even the more expert Torah readers arrange to practice with the cantor in advance.
Aliyot and Honors
If you wish to distribute honors to close relatives and friends, you should discuss it one month in advance with the Ritual Committee. Please note that honors are also set aside for other members of the congregation and community. Anyone receiving an honor must be Jewish, with men covering their heads and wearing a tallit to approach the Bimah. Honors could include: Aliyot to the Torah, raising and binding of the Torah, opening the ark, carrying the Torah, and readings in either Hebrew or English. We will need the Hebrew names of those who receive Aliyot, and the honor of lifting and binding the Torah. Please indicate the person’s name, parents’ names and whether they are a Cohen or Levi. Please submit this list in writing to the Ritual Committee at least one week prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The members of the immediate family will also be asked to stand and recite the prayer She-hecheyanu together with the rabbi. The cantor can provide a tape or arrange for a practice session for anyone unfamiliar with these rituals.
Please be sure to go the Social Hall immediately after services have ended, so that you and your immediate family can help lead the congregation in Kiddush and ha-Motzi with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family. Please wait until you are in the Bierman Social Hall to greet your guests.
As members of the T&V community, Ben and Helene Wagenberg wished to celebrate their son Max’s Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage for every Jewish girl and boy. The only difference for their family is that Max is autistic. They created this video to share Max’s experience.
Again, Mazal Tov on this wonderful occasion and we look forward to celebrating this important milestone in your family’s life.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guide Town and Village Synagogue334 East 14th StreetNew York, NY 10003 (212) 677-8090FAX: (212) 677-1049www.tandv.org Rabbi Laurence A. Sebert; Cantor Shayna Postman; Shanee Epstein, Educational Director; Sharon P. Steinberg Chair, Ritual Committee; Marianna Mott Newirth, President