To discuss your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah and schedule your child’s simcha at Temple Beth-El, please contact Rabbi Joseph at our Office, 933-2740.
Are you a first-time Bar or Bat Mitzvah attendee? Click here to watch a short video about the ceremony.
Congratulations on your upcoming simcha!
A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is an important lifecycle event for your family and for our congregation and we look forward to sharing in the process.
Our professional staff is available to assist you throughout the planning stages of your simcha. If you would like to speak to Rabbi Joseph, please call the Temple Beth-El Office at 933-2740.
One way to help put the “mitzvah” back into the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to practice Judaism in the home. As part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program children participate in various mitzvah projects. The clergy discusses this in detail at the annual orientation meetings. Families should begin thinking about ways they can fulfill the mitzvah of “tikun olam”, building a better world.
- Dates are assigned according to the child’s Hebrew birthday.
- Dates are assigned during a child’s fourth (4th) grade year, unless that child’s birthday falls later than June 30th.
- Students who enter Temple Beth-El Religious School program after fourth grade may be scheduled for a date significantly later than their thirteenth birthday, due to previously scheduled Congregational events.
- Dates may also be unavailable as a result of clergy vacation and holidays.
- Parents may agree to exchange dates – provided that all parties agree and no child’s date is moved prior to his/her thirteenth Hebrew birthday.
If you have questions or scheduling needs, please contact Bob Greenberg.
The Friday evening service is casual and begins at 5:45pm. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah family is encouraged to attend. It is a wonderful and appropriate way to begin the weekend. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah student may participate in the service by chanting the kiddush and Adon Olam.
Basket of Blessings / Bimah Flowers
The Collat Jewish Family Services of Birmingham will provide a “basket of blessings” as a bimah decoration in return for a donation to their agency. You can use the “basket of blessings” to bring the mitzvah of tzedakah into your celebration. We suggest that you consider this meaningful alternative to bimah flowers.
Some families choose to provide flowers for the bimah during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Shabbat service. An arrangement may be placed in front of the Reading Table and/or in front of the Rabbi’s lectern. Flowers may also be placed in stands at the far ends of the bema, outside of the Torah holders. Temple Beth-El can provide names of florists who are familiar with this procedure. Flowers must be in place prior to the beginning of Shabbat.
A video of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is available. A stationery camera is installed in the sanctuary for this purpose. There is a small fee for video taping. If you would like a video, please contact Bob Greenberg at least one week prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Honors and Aliyot
Family and friends may be included in the service by offering them an aliyah or other honor.
The following honors are available for distribution:
- Peticha Opening the Ark (2 People)
- Aliyot Torah Blessings Each family is allotted one aliyah for parents and four for other honorees
- (A maximum of two people may share in each aliyah)
- Hagbah Lifting the Torah (1 Person)
- Gelilah Dressing the Torah (1 Person)
- English Reading Prayer for Our Country (1 Person)
- English Reading Prayer for Israel (1 Person)
- Peticha Opening the Ark (2 People)
To maintain the sanctity and dignity of our Shabbat services, we require that every person who is called to the Torah for an Aliyah (Torah honor) be able to recite the blessings accurately. The text in Hebrew with English transliteration is available in the TBE Office.
Parents, older siblings, relatives and friends are welcome to read an aliyah from the Torah scroll. However, we ask that people assigned this responsibility be competent and skilled in this ritual. Please consult with the Rabbi for a list of available aliyot to be read during your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
It is the custom at Temple Beth-El that one Temple officer and one Temple Board member sit on the bimah during every Shabbat morning service. Bar/Bat Mitzvah families may designate an officer and board member to receive this honor. Please ask these people as far in advance as possible. If you would like for our Office to assign these honors please let us know in advance.
It is customary at Temple Beth-El to designate friends or relatives as ushers. Ushers are asked to greet and welcome people as they arrive for services on Shabbat morning. In addition, the ushers do not allow people to enter the sanctuary while the rabbi is speaking or other important prayers are being recited. All ushers must be above the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah and members of Temple Beth-El. If you need assistance with finding ushers for your simcha, please contact the Office in advance so that we may help you.
During the service, a representative of Temple Beth-El or the Sisterhood presents the Bar/Bat Mitzvah with a gift from each organization. It is the practice of Temple Beth-El that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family assigns this honor. The family is responsible for contacting the presenter and making arrangements for the presentation.
Presenters may be chosen from among the following:
- A current officer or past president of Temple Beth-El
- A current or past president of Sisterhood or Men’s Club
Alternatively, parents may choose not to assign this honor. If no one is designated, the Rabbi will present the gifts during her remarks to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
The Kiddush Luncheon
It is customary for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family to sponsor a Kiddush Luncheon for the congregation following the Shabbat morning service. Several options are available: the Kiddhush Luncheon may be catered, or families may choose to prepare it themselves with the help of family and friends (it need not be elaborate). All plans must be coordinated through the Executive Director four months or more in advance of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah weekend.