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Expectations for Bar & Bat Mitzvah

Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah expectations have been set by the Center for Jewish Learning and Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman to ensure that every student is fully prepared for B'nai Mitzvah.

  1. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah student is required to be a student in the Temple Israel CJL for a minimum of the three years preceding Bar/Bat Mitzvah or the equivalent. Regular attendance at Religious School is essential to this process as is respectful behavior.
  2. Cantor Phillips Fogelman leads our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Training program, which students will begin 6 - 7 months before Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  
  3. Required attendance at services – students will have a “Service Attendance Card” and will be responsible for filling it out and bringing it with them to all private lessons.  Within the 9 months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, students are required to attend a total of 14 worship services:
    1. Six (6) Shabbat morning services (at least 4 must be at Temple Israel)
    2. Four (4) Shabbat evening services (at least 2 must be at Temple Israel)
    3. Four (4) Floating services at Temple Israel (Shabbat, Festival, or High Holiday services)
  4. NewB’nai Mitzvah Lab will take place in the former Blessings Class slot from 5-6:30 on Thursdays. It will enable our students to spend extra individualized time polishing the material that they are preparing for their Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. We want to get to know each student on a more personal basis earlier in the B’nai Mitzvah process and anticipate that the Lab will allow us to identify and address any potential learning issues or challenges well in advance of a student’s ceremony date.

    During the Lab time, students will work with Lane Chazdon to review the prayers and blessings they are expected to know as they become Bar/Bat Mitzvah. In most cases, these sessions will take place before the students start their individual work with the Cantor. They will enable each student to get a running start on the required material so that they are well prepared to begin learning their Torah and Haftarah portions with the Cantor.

    Each student will be automatically assigned to thirty-minute slots during this time for approximately three weeks. If the time slots your child was assigned does not work for your family, please contact the office to reschedule.  

  5. Private lessons with Cantor Phillips Fogelman – approximately 3-4 months before the ceremony date, students start studying privately with the cantor for 20 minutes on a weekly basis, (12-14 lessons total).
    • During the two months that students attend the B'Nai Mitzvah Lab, students will be studying Hebrew, working on their prayers, and learning the Torah cantillation system.  When they begin private lessons with Cantor Phillips Fogelman, they will continue to work on their prayers and begin working on their Torah and Haftarah portions. 
  6. Meetings with Rabbi Jaech – approximately 6-8 weeks before the ceremony date, students start working with Rabbi Jaech on their divrei Torah (speeches).
  7. Each experience is unique! Because every student is different, not every Bar/Bat Mitzvah service will be the same.  Some students will lead more prayers than others and some will chant more Torah than others.  Our goal is to help every student meet his or her potential and to have a good experience in the process. 

***Please keep in touch with us throughout your family's preparations so we can share in your celebrations and assist you with any challenges you encounter.

Additional Requirements

  • Two adults are required to serve as ushers at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah before yours (this will typically be sometime during the month before yours) for the entire duration of the service.  Reminders will be sent by email.  You are responsible for finding your own replacements if you have a conflict.  Please read the decorum guidelines as printed on the back of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah pamphlet and try to ensure that the guidelines are followed as you would want them to be followed on your special day. 
  • It is suggested that a portion of the gifts received by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidate be given as tzedakah to a worthy organization. 
  • Proper attire must be worn at all worship services; shabby blue jeans, shorts, T-shirts, strapless dresses and extremely short skirts are examples of inappropriate clothing. 
  • Finally, we congratulate you and your child on reaching this important milestone.  Please remember that religious learning and living do not end with Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  We encourage students to continue in the Center for Jewish Learning through high school.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you!

Temple Policies

When you are using the Temple premises for any reason, including a Bar/Bat Mitzvah service and/or Kiddush, you are responsible for the actions and behavior of your guests while in the building. This includes liability for any and all damage to Temple property

LIABILITY: Temple Israel of Northern Westchester shall not be responsible for the loss of or damage to any personal property by individuals using its facilities, coatrooms, lavatories, parking lots, etc.

INSURANCE DOCUMENTATION: All contractors or subcontractors (i.e., caterers, florists) must submit certificates of worker’s compensation and public liability insurance to the Temple Office at least 60 days in advance.

EQUIPMENT: No Temple equipment may be used without prior written consent of the Temple Administrator. A refundable damage deposit is required.  This includes speakers, microphones and other sound equipment.

KITCHEN FACILITIES: The freezer and dishwasher may not be used unless arrangements are made beforehand with the Temple Administrator. Leftovers (food you think is worth saving) can not be left in the kitchen. Please take them home.

BASKETS AND/OR PLATTERS: Any baskets or platters that you (or your caterer) want returned are the responsibility of the family, not the Temple.

FOOD AND DRINK: No eating or drinking is permitted in the Sanctuary or the Lobby at ANY TIME, other than when the Simple Kiddush takes place in the Lobby area.

SMOKING: Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building.

USE OF EMPLOYEES: The ONLY responsibilities of the Temple custodian during a private party are to supervise the removal of the garbage and to be on hand in case of an emergency. Cleanup is the responsibility of the individuals contracting for the use of the building.

PARKING: Right of Way through both parking areas must be left clear for emergency vehicles. Buses for children should arrive no earlier than 11:45 am and may line up perpendicular to the building. The bus driver must remain in the bus. The bus should be marked with the family’s name.

Wed, February 26 2020 1 Adar 5780