At Beth Shir Shalom, we use the inclusive term BMitzvah for the Jewish coming-of-age ritual that happens at age 12 or 13. The goal of our program is to meet each student where they are and challenge them appropriately. We want to celebrate our students for who they are, not over-burden them with anxiety in what should be a joyous celebration. Our students lead their shacharit (morning) or mincha (afternoon) service, write iyyunim to share their understanding of certain prayers, and deliver a d’var torah to share their perspective of their Torah portion.
Our students study for a minimum of two years with us in preparation. Our Hebrew preparation begins in 3rd grade, with mandatory sessions beginning in 5th. In 6th & 7th grade, we use Moving Traditions curriculum to prepare our students and their families for the momentus moment of a BMitzvah. 8 months before their ceremony, they begin meeting with a tutor to polish prayers, learn trope, and chant their Torah portion. 4 months before their ceremony they begin meeting with Rabbi Alex to prepare iyyunim (personal introductions to prayers) & write a d’var torah (a word of Torah, a mini-sermon).
Throughout the process, families must be members in good standing and students must be enrolled & present in their grade-level program.