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B'nei Mitzvah               

last updated April 6, 2021

The B'nei Mitzvah is a community celebration, as we welcome the young person into the Dorshei Tzedek community as a Jewish adult—to be counted in our minyan for prayer, and to be called upon to read Torah and take on other responsibilities.

The young person’s B'nei Mitzvah is an opportunity for the whole community to celebrate each individual child.

Our services are intimate, meaningful and spirited, filled with music and inspiring teachings. The young person leads the service, chants the Torah and Haftorah, gives a d’var torah, and the community kvells. We hope that this ceremony becomes a gateway to the young person’s involvement in the life of the congregation in new ways.

For more information, see our non-Covid B'nei Mitzvah In-Person Guidelines. For members, we have also prepared detailed documents on logistics and other guidelines as well as a shared folder full of helpful COVID-19 Zoom B'nei Mitzvah tips.

Indoor and Outdoor Options for In-Person B'nei Mitzvah Services

Thank you for your partnership and patience as we work together to celebrate safely. Because the situation with the pandemic is constantly in flux, please know that we will revise these guidelines as circumstances change, and be in touch with Melissa Colten if you have any questions.

We have both indoor and outdoor options for your ceremony location, so please let us know which site you prefer one month before the big day so we can thoroughly prepare technical and logistical staffing. Please note that all services will also be Zoomed for guests and congregants. This is an exciting time and we all want to celebrate safely!  

Pre-registration of in-person guests for both indoor and outdoor options is required. We need to know who is attending and in which pod they are to be seated, and request that our B'nei Mitzvah families share that information with the office one week prior to the ceremony. Guests will find seats within their designated labeled pod when they arrive. 

All guests must be informed by the host family that if they have a fever or are experiencing any Covid symptoms, they should not attend the ceremony. No food can be brought or shared during or after the CDT services.

We ask that families let us know which option you prefer no later than 4 weeks before the ceremony.


If you would like to hold your ceremony in the CDT sanctuary, we can safely accommodate 35-45 persons, depending on the size and number of pods. Before finalizing your invitations, please speak with Melissa (857) 228-0228. Rabbi Toba has been fully vaccinated; we will not, however, require vaccinations or Covid-19 tests for your guests. If you would like to require that your guests be vaccinated, that is entirely your choice.

The set-up in the sanctuary will be as follows

  • Rabbi Toba will be up on the gallery stage at the far side of the sanctuary, and will be unmasked only during the service. While leading the service, she is 24 feet away from the closest guests in the sanctuary.
  • The only other staff member present will be Dennis Maler, CDT technician. He has been fully vaccinated, will be masked throughout the ceremony, and will be sitting sitting towards the back in the middle.
  • The immediate family of the b-mitzvah will sit up front, near the bimah, and will remain masked throughout the ceremony, with the exception of when she/he/they is leading prayers or chanting from the Torah on the bimah, and when the parents go up for their Aliyah and to give their child a blessing.
  • Other guest pods will be seated at least 13 feet from the bimah and at least 6 feet from one another (this distance will be maintained between pods, not individuals). Guests must remain masked throughout the ceremony. Masked family members may come up on the bimah for Torah honors.
  • The family and guests will be asked to sing softly.
  • After the ceremony, the immediate family is welcome to move downstairs to the Parlor to connect, over Zoom, with those guests attending virtually.


If you would like to hold your ceremony at Gann Academy under our 2 canopies, we can safely and logistically accommodate between 50-150 guests. This number is dependent on the changing Covid landscape and recommendations by CDT's Re-entry Protocol Committee. We appreciate your patience with this changing number, so please feel free to call Melissa to discuss your specific situation on an ongoing basis.

  • Rabbi Toba will be unmasked during the service, and will be at least 13 feet from the b'mitzvah while leading the service. Guests will remain masked throughout the ceremony, but the b'mitzvah him/her/themself and close family who come up for Aliyot may unmask when they are leading prayers/reading from Torah/reciting a blessing.
  • Guests will be seated at least 13 feet from the  bimah, some may be somewhat far from the  bimah depending on numbers. The sound system will reach all of the guests in attendance, even if visibility is limited.
  • CDT will provide a porta-potty and hand-washing for guests, and will also make sure that the ceremony is accessible via Zoom for guests ands congregants who are unable to attend in person.
  • We will do our best to hold the ceremony outdoors, rain or shine. If it seems likely that weather conditions will not permit us to hold the ceremony outdoors, we will shift to indoors a the CDT sanctuary. Because we can only accommodate 35-45 people indoors, we ask that you have this alternative guest list ready in case it is needed. The decision to move indoors must be made by noon on the Thursday before the b'mitzvah.

Costs and Contributions

Indoor Ceremony

In pre-Covid times, each b'nei mitzvah family was charged $450 by Second Church for the use of Fellowship Hall for the kiddush lunch; CDT has not charge anything above that amoount. A present, we will not be holding kiddush lunches after services, so there is no charge for an indoor ceremony. You are more than welcome to make a contribution to CDT in honor of your child becoming b'mitzvah of whatever size feels appropriate.

Outdoor Ceremony

The cost of each outdoor ceremony is approximately $1800, which includes space, canopies, chairs, equipment rental,technical and logistical support, and security (required by Gann due to the close proximity to the public fields). We ask each family to contribute what you feel you are able, and simply let Melissa know.

Sat, April 17 2021 5 Iyyar 5781