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Communal Expectations of B'nei Mitzvah and Ceremonies


The B'Mitzvah ceremony takes place in the context of community. It is an acknowledgment of the young person taking their place as an adult in the broader Jewish community, and also within the Dorshei Tzedek community. For this reason, families are expected to be members in good standing of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek for two full years prior to the B'Mitzvah ceremony. “In good standing” includes all dues and fees payments being in order before the ceremony. Exceptions to this rule must be discussed with Rabbi Toba. We are aware that this requirement might mean that a young person celebrates their B'Mitzvah somewhat later than their 13th birthday.

Service Timing and Including the Dorshei Community

B'nei Mitzvah ceremonies take place during a regular Dorshei Tzedek Shabbat Shacharit (morning) service. While we want to make the service as inclusive and reflective of the family as possible, it is important to remember that this is also a service for the congregation, and will maintain the structure and feel of a regular Dorshei Tzedek service. As a community, we want to encourage members to attend one another’s simchas (joyous occasions) just as we would support one another in times of sadness. All of the B'nei Mitzvah ceremonies are announced in the congregational newsletter, and you will be asked to submit a brief announcement that includes a bit of information about the B'Mitzvah and their interests to the newsletter, so that everyone can get to know a little bit about them before the event.

Celebrations Following the Service

While a party in the late afternoon/evening following the ceremony can be considered a private event, there is an expectation that all those present for the ceremony will be invited to the Kiddush following the service. At a minimum, we ask that the B'Mitzvah family provide a light Kiddush lunch for everyone present. Current practice is that most families host a celebratory Kiddush lunch with the community and their guests, and do not have a private luncheon following the ceremony.

Some families also choose to have music at the Kiddush lunch. The guidelines for music at the lunch/afternoon event is as follows:

Klezmer or other traditional Jewish music (e.g. Israeli dances) is fine during the lunch itself, we just request that it not be too loud, so people can enjoy some conversation.

If you would like to make the afternoon party the main party, it is fine to have rock/dance music at the end of the lunch, so that CDT members who prefer not to have that kind of Shabbat afternoon have time to eat and then depart. We ask that the dance music (apart from Jewish dance music, which is fine earlier) not begin before 1:00pm.

Inviting the Class 

At the Dorshei Tzedek religious school, one of our goals is to foster a sense of Jewish community among our youth. This is an important community-wide value, as reflected in the first line of our congregational mission statement: "Dorshei Tzedek is a Reconstructionist congregation dedicated to creating a caring and inclusive community…" Please keep this value in mind as you plan your B'Mitzvah celebration. We strongly encourage students to attend the B'nei Mitzvah services of their classmates, in order to support one another and to learn the Jewish value of celebrating together as a community. In planning parties to which members of the religious school class are being invited, families should make every effort to be inclusive of all members of the class, in order that no child feels left out. We ask specifically that if any children in the class are being invited, then all be invited. 

Next: Preparation & Requirements: “On Three Things”

Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782