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My Mitzvah FAQs

Do we have to belong to a synagogue to do the My Mitzvah program?
No. My Mitzvah is a one-year program open to any Jewish-identifying teen (12 and up) and their family.

I’ve heard of Bar- and Bat Mitzvah, but what is “B’nai Mitzvah?”
We use the term B’nai Mitzvah, which is the plural of Bar Mitzvah, in the spirit of “they/them”--as a non-gendered reference to the Jewish coming of age process and/or event. The term can also refer to the person who is “doing” the B’nai Mitzvah.

Will my child learn Hebrew at My Mitzvah?
Reading Hebrew is not part of the formal curriculum, but it is definitely something your child could do with a private tutor. My Mitzvah is open to students who already read Hebrew; those who will learn Hebrew (with a tutor) alongside (and simultaneous with) our curriculum; and those students who wish to have a B'nai Mitzvah without reading Hebrew. If you'd like more details on how this works, please ask us.

Can my child really prepare for a B’nai Mitzvah in a year?
Yes, and the process and product will be different for each participant. A child who comes in with prior knowledge of Hebrew and prayer can learn to compose and lead a modern Jewish prayer service. With tutoring, that child can chant a Torah and/or haftarah in Hebrew as well. A child with no prior experience with Judaism will also will be also be able to lead a service, if they so choose, with the amount of Hebrew tailored to their level of skill and interest. You will most likely want to start weekly lessons with a private tutor sooner or later during the year of study, but it is not a requirement for having a B’nai Mitzvah.

What if it takes longer than a year for my child to feel ready?
The formal program is one year long, but a child and family could continue to study with a tutor and be in consultation with rabbi/facilitators for as long as necessary.

Does My Mitzvah require my child to have a traditional B’nai Mitzvah?
No. All participants will become comfortable with Jewish modes of prayer, but the year of study does not need to culminate in a traditional prayer service. We can help a student create a different sort of capstone experience if a normative B’nai Mitzvah doesn’t fit.

Is family involvement a requirement?
Yes, the family Havurah (friend group) is an essential part of My MItzvah. In-home observance is where some of the best Jewish stuff happens. When we light candles or sing a blessing, we create a sacred “space in time” for just being together in the moment. Our MM gatherings will provide a fun, safe chance to try out in-home practices, as well as a chance to socialize and share our experiences as we go through this process together.

Tue, October 26 2021 20 Cheshvan 5782