Family B’nai Mitzvah Program

Click here to visit our FAQs page!

The B’nai Mitzvah Process

3–4 years before your B’nai Mitzvah date (3rd/4th Grade)

Beginning the Journey—Ritual and Blessing

The sacred journey begins with other parents and clergy with a series of study sessions and inspirational experiences.

  • Parent orientation and choosing your B’nai Mitzvah date.
  • 4th graders and Confirmands (10th graders) exchange blessings on Erev Shabbat.
  • Once your child has a B’nai Mitzvah date, they are invited for a special group aliyah to the Torah every Simchat Torah until their date.

2 years before your B’nai Mitzvah date (5th Grade)

Our Story—Community and Responsibility

Continue your sacred journey as a family in your child’s age cohort, exploring themes of community and narrative.

  • Families attend two study sessions with clergy.
  • Our Operations Associate will contact you to discuss CRS space rental information.
  • The first installment of the B’nai Mitzvah Experience fee is due.

1 year before your B’nai Mitzvah date (6th Grade)

Sacred Wellness

You and your child learn to apply techniques to ensure spiritual and personal growth and impact the world through social justice experiences.

  • During Religious School and/or RSS hours, your child studies cantillation (trope) for their Torah and Haftarah portion, and participates in a service-learning program of study and action.
  • Families attend one or more additional study session(s), and participate in a mitzvah project at West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH).
  • For students with a Fall B’nai Mitzvah date, families will attend a D’var Torah Writing Workshop with Rabbi Levine. Click here for the D’var Torah writing guidelines. Click here for sample D’vrei Torah.
  • The second installment of the B’nai Mitzvah Experience fee is due.

6–8 months before your B’nai Mitzvah date (7th Grade)

Our Purpose

You, your child, and clergy come together to explore your beliefs and why they matter, and to examine what this milestone means to you, your family, and your community.

  • For students with a Spring B’nai Mitzvah date, families will attend a D’var Torah Writing Workshop with Rabbi Levine. Click here for the D’var Torah writing guidelines. Click here for sample D’vrei Torah.
  • Each family attends one private study session with clergy.
  • Families have an Initial Meeting with one of the cantors to outline the B’nai Mitzvah service training process.
  • Your child begins twenty-minute weekly lessons with a tutor.
  • Each family attends Shabbat services at CRS to become familiar with the B’nai Mitzvah service.

For audio recordings of the blessings chanted before and after the reading of the Torah and Haftarah, please see below:

3–6 months before your B’nai Mitzvah date (7th Grade)

Learning and Intention

You and your child now understand the components of the sacred journey and know the next steps to take to reach your milestone.

  • Your child begins working with one of our rabbis on their d’var Torah (speech).

1 month before your B’nai Mitzvah date

The Joy of Leadership

As you near your simcha (celebration), final preparations are made so your child can feel confident on the bimah.

  • Your child meets again with the officiating rabbi for further edits to the d’var Torah.
  • You receive information about selecting family members for aliyot (honors to the Torah) and other honors.

The week of your B’nai Mitzvah

Purpose, Pride, Belonging

Mazal tov! You are about to embark on the most sacred journey of all—that of living a full Jewish life.

  • Family rehearsal with the officiating Cantor on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Get plenty of rest!

Beyond B’nai Mitzvah

What’s Next?

We envision that all our B’nai Mitzvah continue their learning and growth through CRS Teen Programming including Confirmation and the Berlin trip in the 10th Grade.  Post their B’nai Mitzvah date, teens will be invited to attend a Mazel Tov dinner with youth staff and clergy to celebrate and hear about all of our teen program offerings.

Whatever your teen’s interest, we have it all…

Classroom experiences
Paid internships
Mitzvah work
Social outings, trips, and more!

Keep the Experience Going! 

  • Trips—8th grade social action trip to New Orleans, 9th grade political advocacy trip to Washington, DC, 10th grade Confirmation trip to Berlin
  • Internship—Interns choose from a selection of areas of the synagogue to work in for an hour a week to discover a different side of their CRS community and enjoy a unique résumé-building experience. This is a paid internship.
  • Madrichim Program (Teacher Assistant)—Teens work in the Religious School on Monday and/or Wednesday afternoons 4–6pm. Receive compensation or community service hours.
  • Tuesday Nights—(weekly, 5–7pm) provide our teens with an opportunity to be together for social and educational programing taught by the clergy
  • 10th Grade Confirmation—the next major milestone in Jewish life after B’nai Mitzvah. Working with our clergy, you will wrestle with some of life’s big questions. Discover your own answers as you experience a trip to Berlin and study sessions where three tracks are offered and you pick the one that suits you best.
  • Monthly Social Action—Love mitzvah work? Join us monthly for community service projects.
  • Holiday Series—Celebrate the Jewish holidays with us through creative programming.
  • HeyGirlHey/Brodeph Sholom for 8th/9th graders—These are monthly groups for guys and girls, led by our youth professionals, that draw on Jewish wisdom and practice as they explore an array of topics relevant to their lives.
  • Youth Group (CRuSTY)—Through fun events and thoughtful planning, teens engage in programs that are either social, social action or education based. Leadership opportunities are possible as well.