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BET Mitzvah Program Overview:A Commitment to Jewish Education & Identity

Bar/Bat/Bet Mitzvah (abbreviated as B”M) is the title given to a young person becoming a more conscious, intentional, and responsible member of the Jewish community. Children become B’’M simply by turning 13, but it is customary for the family to mark this transition by a communal ritual. It is an important step in the transition to adulthood and the acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions and choices. 

As a public acknowledgment, the B’’M ceremony takes place within the context of a worship service at which time a portion from the Torah is read. During the course of that service, the B’’M are given the opportunity to demonstrate that they have acquired the skills to participate in the service and fulfill some of the obligations of Jewish adulthood. 

Participation in the service is the heart and the soul of the B’’M ceremony. Through working with gifted teachers and clergy, students will be well prepared to read Torah and/or Haftarah, chant blessings and some prayers, and delve into the text and give a d’var Torah (speech).

B”M Roadmap/Timeline

  • Enroll in the Center for Jewish Learning (CJL). We encourage enrollment in the early grades, but no later than the 4th grade year.
  • Fifth Grade Year:  Parents attend a B”M workshop, receive basic information about the process, and submit their preferences for the date of the B”M Ceremony.  The B”M Committee assigns the dates.
  • Sixth Grade Year:  Parents and Students attend a special Sunday morning orientation program. Students receive their siddurim (prayer books).
  • Seventh Grade Year:  Students design and assemble their personalized yad (pointer used in reading from the Torah scroll) and undertake their mitzvah project.

Year Prior to B"M Ceremony:

  • Hebrew Boot Camp (ten individualized sessions on Zoom with tutors)
  • Individual sessions scheduled with the cantor
  • Individual sessions scheduled with the rabbi
  • B”M Ceremony rehearsal (usually held at 3 PM on the Thursday immediately prior to the B”M Ceremony Date)

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We encourage you to reach out with questions or concerns you may have at any point during the Bar/Bat/Bet Mitzvah process.

  • Enrollment Questions for Temple Israel of Northern Westchester’s Center for Jewish Learning, please contact Rabbi Wendy Pein (rabbipein@tinw.org).
  • Finances, reception rentals, ceremony logistics, and sponsoring a Friday night oneg: please contact Temple Administrator Matt Mansfield (matt@tinw.org).
  • Scheduling B”M dates: please contact Jenifer McLaughlin, chair of our B”M committee (jenifermclaughlin@verizon.net).
  • Ways to honor family and friends in the B”M Ceremony: please contact Rabbi Jennifer Jaech (rabbi@tinw.org).
  • Torah and Haftarah readings, prayers, and preparing for the service: please contact Rabbi Jennifer Jaech (rabbi@tinw.org).

In addition to the Rabbis and the Cantors, members of the B”M Committee are available to you throughout your preparation to answer questions and refer you to the appropriate individuals or committees at Temple who can address concerns that may arise.

Below are your committee liaisons.  Please feel free to contact any of us directly. Otherwise, please contact the liaison listed for your child’s month of birth.

Jan-April         Jen McLaughlin                      914-772-4401           jenifermclaughlin@verizon.net

May-Aug         Rorie Caparelli                        914-262-0450          capfam03@optonline.net

Sept-Dec         Sylvana Trabout                     914-525-9119          gentlybold@yahoo.com

Congratulations once again on reaching this important milestone in your child and family’s life and Jewish identity. We look forward to learning and celebrating with all of you. 

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784