IMG_0802 To discuss your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah and schedule your child’s simcha at Temple Beth-El, please contact the TBE office at 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.

Contact Information

Our professional staff is available to assist you throughout the planning stages of your simcha. Please call the Temple Beth-El office at 933-2740 to learn more.

The Mitzvah

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.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates are scheduled based upon availability according to the Temple Beth-El Master Calendar.

  • 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 Amber Richards.

Friday Night

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.

Video Taping

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 let the staff know during the planning process.

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.

Bimah Honors

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. B’nai Mitzvah families may designate these roles for their special occasion. Please ask these people as far in advance as possible. If you would like for our Board 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. Please let us know if you need assistance finding ushers for your simcha.


During the service, a representative of Temple Beth-El or the Rabbi presents the Bar/Bat Mitzvah with special gifts from various Temple organizations. The family may designate who delivers these gifts.

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 Kiddush 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 a minimum of four months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah weekend.