TO THE B’NEI MITZVAH FAMILIES
I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Diane Carver and I am VP of Religious Services. What does that mean? My Ritual Committee is an adjunct to the Rabbi and Cantor. They inform us as to what they would like our Shabbat services to involve and we try to make it happen.
I know that we have many interfaith families in our congregation. I also know that we many families where one, or both parents have had little or no Jewish education. And I know that B’nei Mitzvah for your child is a very important event in his/her education and life and certainly in yours as well. I’m here to help in any way possible.
First let me explain that on Friday night’s Shabbat service, either you or a member of your family will be given the honor of lighting the Shabbat candles and of reading the English portion of the Kiddush. You, as the parent of the B’nei Mitzvah child will make the decision as to whom you would like to give those honors to. Sometimes the mother of the child, sometimes a grandmother, or perhaps an aunt who is especially close to the family will light the Shabbat candles. Likewise, the honor of the Kiddush is given the father of the child, or again a grandparent, or someone else close to the family. Since there are 10 Friday night services, and your child has been assigned one of the 10, you will be given detailed instruction as to which page your candle lighting can be found on, and you will be sent a copy of the exact prayer that you’re responsible for reading. If there are two families involved in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, your portion will highlighted so you know exactly what you’re responsible for. The Kiddush is also included in the information you receive, although it can always be found on page 719 in the prayer book. Again, if there are two children and two families involved in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, your portion will be highlighted.
If your child is the only one becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah that weekend, you will receive a copy of the prayers with no highlighting, meaning you or your family member will read it in its entirety.
It is customary for the family to sponsor the Oneg Shabbat on Friday night and also furnish the Bema flowers.
As I’m sure Rabbi has explained to you, there are many honors you and your family may participate in on Saturday morning. There are Ark openings, undressing and redressing the Torah, and Aliyot (the blessing before and after your child’s Torah portion). It is your responsibility to invite those who you wish to participate in the service to do so far enough in advance and to let Rabbi know who those people are, so we have time to prepare the program and include all of the names of the participants.
Your child/children will be conducting the entire service, and it is an honor and a mitzvah to give someone close to you and your child the opportunity to stand beside him/her on the Bema and be a part of the service.
After the service on Saturday morning, you have the option of entertaining your guests for lunch at the Temple should you so choose. However, whether you remain at Temple or go elsewhere, you are responsible for the Kiddush after the service, which consists of wine, juice, challah and any cookies or baked goods you choose to provide. This Kiddush will be prepared by the custodians and served in the lobby so everyone may help themselves as they leave the Sanctuary.
We would like to make this entire weekend a meaningful experience for you, your child and your family. Either myself or a member of our Ritual Committee is available every Shabbat to help guide you through this very special time in all of your lives. If you are sharing with another family, you will be assigned a time when your photographer may meet with all of you for pictures prior to the service. Our Ritual Committee member will be happy to open the Ark for you and take out a Torah so you may have pictures of your child holding the Torah, and will then replace the Torah when your photographer has finished.
In the case of a double B’nei Mitzvah, we ask that you make sure that your picture taking is in the allotted time given you so as to give equal time to both families.
I’m available at any time to speak to you on the phone regarding any concerns you may have and would be more than happy to discuss any part of the customs, or procedures that you do not understand or are not familiar with. I do strongly urge you and your family to attend several regular Friday night Shabbat services (not just Intergenerational), and Saturday morning Shabbat services to familiarize yourselves with the services that you and your child will be responsible for.
I can be reached at my home at (561) 638-3436, or on my cell at (561) 862-7943.
Thank you for helping us make this a very important milestone and a wonderful experience for you and your family.
For Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah tunes and more information click below:
Bar Mitzvah/ Bat Mitzvah Tunes and Information