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B'Mitzvah Logistics

Choosing a Date

To balance the needs of our B'nei Mitzvah families with other needs of the congregation, we strive to carefully schedule our B'nei Mitzvah celebrations. While it is traditional to hold the B'Mitzvah ceremony on a Shabbat closely following the young person’s 13th birthday, any time after that birthday is appropriate. Traditionally girls become adults at the age of 12, not 13, and so there is some flexibility in scheduling a bat mitzvah before a girl’s 13th birthday. 

Rabbi Toba contacts families two years before their child turns 13 to schedule their ceremony date. This happens approximately every August/September (for fall/early winter dates) and January (for late winter/spring dates). B'nei Mitzvah are not scheduled for the month of July. CDT policy is that there can be no more than two B'nei Mitzvah ceremonies in a row, and only 3 out of every 5 Shabbatot. We do our best to make sure everyone gets one of their top two or three choices of dates. 


Each B'Mitzvah family will be charged $450 to cover the rental cost for the Kiddush space and the set-up and clean-up for the service. In order to avoid problems of non-payment, Dorshei Tzedek will bill you for this well in advance of your event and payment is due 3 months before your scheduled date. If payment is not made in a timely manner (or some other arrangement made), we will not be able to hold your B'Mitzvah celebration on the scheduled date. If the rental fee is prohibitive, please be in touch as soon as possible with the treasurer or with Rabbi Toba in order to make another arrangement. 

Ritual items 

Dorshei Tzedek has kippot (yarmulkes) and tallitot (prayer shawls) available, although some families choose to have special kippot made for the occasion (you can call the Israel Book Shop or Kolbo in Brookline for this).


The Site

All Dorshei Tzedek services are held at our prayer space at 60 Highland Street, West Newton, MA 02465. Our sanctuary has 120 permanent chairs, and an additional 70 folding chairs. If you are expecting more than 190 guests, we are able to squeeze in a few more seats on the side.

Physical accessibility into and around the building:
The spaces in Second Church used by CDT are mostly accessible for wheelchair users and those who have difficulty climbing stairs, with the exception of Rabbi Toba's personal office and the all-gender restroom.
     ‣ The accessible entrance to the building uses an automatic door that is located on the Chestnut Street parking lot side at 61 Chestnut St, Newton, MA, 02465. Please let us know in advance if you will need to use this door so that a staff member can show you how to access it. There are handicapped parking spots in both lots.
     ‣ There is an elevator up to the prayer space on the far side of Fellowship Hall. We also have a portable ramp which can be used in our sanctuary to give access to the bimah. Please let us know in advance (by the Wednesday before your simcha) if you or one of your guests will need to use this. 
     ‣ There are two restrooms (a two-stall women's room and single-stall men's room) that don't require stairs to access, both located on the first floor. 
     ‣ To see our full Inclusion & Accessibility statement and policies, please visit

There are parking lots and building entrances on both sides of the church (on Highland Street and also on Chestnut Street), and an additional entrance on the Mass Pike side of the building. The entrance to our prayer space is on Highland Street. 


Everyone at the Shabbat morning service is invited to Kiddush after the service, and it is the custom for the B'Mitzvah family to provide the Kiddush meal. While this does not need to be elaborate or fancy, we do ask that you remember that our Shabbat service is a community celebration as well as a family celebration. 

Fellowship Hall (the large room on the first floor) is reserved for your Kiddush lunch when you confirm your B'Mitzvah date. CDT owns 13 round tables and 7 rectangular tables that are free to be used by our families for their kiddush celebration after the Shabbat service. There are many ways in which to configure the food and seating. Please see THIS FILE for a number of option.

The Kiddush lunch can be organized in a variety of ways. Some families hire a caterer to prepare the food and do the set-up/serving/clean-up; some families purchase or make the food, while other CDT members are assigned to help with the set-up and clean-up; and in some 7th grade classes, families have gotten together to create a “Kiddush co-op” and provide food for one another’s celebrations. If cost is an issue, please consult with Rabbi Toba for ways in which the community can support you in providing Kiddush.

At the Second Church, wine may only be served in our prayer space, not in Fellowship Hall. If you are using a caterer, please let them know this. 

Our kashrut policy is that our shared Kiddush meals are dairy (that is, vegetarian or fish). We ask that the challahs that you purchase for the motzi blessing have a hechsher (kosher) certification. The congregation will provide wine/grape juice for the Kiddush blessing right after the ceremony; if you would like to provide grape juice for your guests in the Fellowship Hall, please purchase a bottle or two and make arrangements to have it available downstairs with the meal. 

Please be aware that you must provide your own paper goods and cutlery for the Kiddush. The congregation has special white tablecloths available (for both the round and rectangular tables) for use especially by B'nei Mitzvah families. Please connect with Melissa Colten about using these special tablecloths.

Set-Up and Clean-Up

Set-up for Services 

Families can anticipate that approximately 25-30 CDT members will attend on the day of a B'Mitzvah celebration, in ADDITION to members of the child’s class and members that you invite that aren’t Shabbat service “regulars.” If you are expecting more than 100 people (including your guests and Dorshei Tzedek members), please contact Melissa Colten by Wednesday of the week of your service, so that she can notify the custodial staff to set up the proper number of folding chairs. 

Please bring a challah for the motzi blessing in the sanctuary (the ushers will take care of bringing it out at the right time). 

Set-up for Kiddush 

You will be contacted between 6 months to a year before your ceremony about whether or not you will need CDT members assigned to help with set-up and clean-up of the Kiddush, so that we can make assignments in a timely way. Please make your plans accordingly and let us know if you are using a caterer who will handle set-up and clean-up.

The custodial staff will set up tables and chairs for your Kiddush lunch unless you tell us otherwise. Melissa has many floor plan templates from which you can choose; please connect with her for a document of layout choices and let her know which one you’d like by the Wednesday before your event. It is also possible to set tables and chairs up yourself on Friday afternoon if the space is not being used that evening; please contact Melissa to make arrangements.

Unless we have discussed other arrangements with you, the kitchen MUST be cleaned and completely vacated no later than 3:00pm. If you wish to use the space beyond 3:00pm, you must speak with our Executive Director Melissa Colten ( to find out if it is available and then reserve it if it is. The prayer space belongs to Dorshei Tzedek exclusively. You and your guests may stay there as long as you like. 


Greening Your B'Mitzvah Celebration

Options for greening your B'Mitzvah celebration are many. One way to minimize waste at the Kiddush and other parties is to contract with Bootstrap Composting ( or another composting company. If you or your caterer purchase biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery (one source: BMS Paper in Jamaica Plain), the process is simple. Whether you hire composting staff or not, it is recommended to save a parking spot for the composters near the Chestnut Street entrance to the church, so the staff can easily carry the cans of scraps out to their vehicle. And don’t forget to align your caterer or volunteers with the composting plan!

Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782