MAZAL TOV IT’S YOUR
Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your child’s life. According to Jewish tradition, a Bar Mitzvah reflects a major turning point, indeed a new beginning, in the life of a Jewish boy and as such one should celebrate this milestone in a meaningful manner.
Our goal at White Lake Torah Center is to provide your family the opportunity to celebrate this special simchah in a manner that is joyous and inspirational for both the Bar Mitzvah boy and his family. With this goal in mind we offer a flexible framework for Bar Mitzvah celebration which is tailored to the each child and family, specifically and individually.
We urge parents to contact the Rabbis about one year before the Bar Mitzvah date. At that time a meeting should be scheduled to determine their child’s Bar Mitzvah date and to enroll him in the Bar Mitzvah Program as well as to go over the Bar Mitzvah procedures and options presented below.
BAR MITZVAH – BECOMING A JEWISH ADULT
Bar Mitzvah literally means "Son of Mitzvah (Commandment/Connection)," which describes the young man now responsible to fulfill all commandments. A boy attains his religious maturity and becomes responsible to fulfill all of the Torah’s commandments at the age of 13. At this age, young men gain the intellectual maturity to discern between right and wrong and modify their behavior accordingly.
It is important to know that a Jewish boy becomes Bar Mitzvah automatically on his thirteenth birthday, with or without a party. However, since this occasion is cause for great celebration and gratitude to G-d, it is a mitzvah to celebrate and mark the occasion.
For a boy, among his many new responsibilities, beginning from his Bar Mitzvah day and forward is the mitzvah of tefillin. Furthermore, as a young man the Bar Mitzvah boy can now be included in a minyian and participate as an adult for the first time. As such the Bar Mitzvah boy takes on a more active public role. Traditionally boys are called up to the Torah on the day of their Bar Mitzvah or the Sabbath afterward. In some communities, the boy leads services and/or reads from the Torah and/or chants the Haftorah on the Shabbat after he becomes Bar Mitzvah.
CELEBRATING AT THE WHITE LAKE COMMUNITY SHUL
The opportunity to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah at the White Lake Community Shul is available to all Jewish Children. We also can offer a Bar Mitzvah type celebration to adults who never celebrated their Bar Mitzvah at the time they originally became Bar Mitzvah. Please consult the Rabbis if you have any questions.
The Bar Mitzvah celebration should occur on or shortly after the child’s 13th birthday according to the Hebrew calendar. Please consult the Rabbis to determine the exact date.
Our policy is that it is the birthright of each and every Jew to belong to the White Lake Community Shul. Accordingly formal membership is not required in order for your child to be able to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at the White Lake Community Shul.
In order to celebrate your Bar Mitzvah at the White Lake Community Shul, the child has to enroll in our Bar Mitzvah Program. It can be tailored to his needs, based on level of education and desire of the child and family.
The Bar Mitzvah boy needs to have his own pair of Tefillin, and should ideally have his own Siddur and Chumash, all of which may be purchased through our office.
CURRICULUM AND SCHEDULE
Bar Mitzvah Program
This curriculum serves as a forum for discussion and discovery, encouraging the Bar Mitzvah boy to learn more about this unique time in his life. The following topics will be covered:
The Torah portion including selected commentaries
The mitzvah of Tefillin
The Joy of Shabbos
Synagogue and Prayer Services
Preparation of Bar Mitzvah speeches
Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 10:30 am. This program lasts 4 months and starts three times a year – September, January, and May.
Can be arranged as necessary.
All Bar Mitzvah classes are taught by Rabbi Fishbain and Rabbi Kolakowski.
*Please note, if a student is unable to fulfill these requirements, we can arrange a more simple Bar Mitzvah ceremony, based on his own needs as a student. Our main goal is to serve you.
RITUAL CEREMONY OPTIONS
Weekday Morning Service
The Weekday Morning Service begins at 8 am. On Mondays and Thursdays, as well as Rosh Chodesh and certain other days, the Torah is read. Services conclude around 9 am, but may be longer with speeches. Pictures and videos may be taken at this service.
The Shabbos Morning Service
The Shabbos Morning Service begins at 9:30am with Shacharis, Torah reading, Haftorah reading, speeches delivered by the Rabbi and the Bar Mitzvah boy, followed by the Mussaf service. Services end approximately at 12 pm.
The Bar Mitzvah boy may choose to do as little as just being called up to the Torah for an Aliyah or as much as lead the entire service, read the Torah and Haftorah, or anything in between. Specifically, the Bar Mitzvah boy may choose to:
be called for an aliyah followed by candy shower and joyous singing of Mazal Tov
-chant the blessings to the Haforah (and read the Haftorah silently while another man chants)
-chant the Haftorah
-chant the maftir
-chant the whole Torah portion
-lead the Preliminary Morning Service (This may be done by a child under Bar Mitzvah as well)
-lead the Morning Services
-lead the Mussaf Service
Shabbat Morning Kiddush
The kiddush and/or luncheon sponsored by the family is honor of the Bar Mitzvah may include:
-Kiddush Recited by the Bar Mitzvah boy
-D’var Torah by the Bar Mitzvah boy
The following are only available at a luncheon (or may be conducted at home or another reception location)
-Al Netilat Yadayim and Hamotzi by the Bar Mitzvah boy
Recitation of Grace After Meals
For more options including activities by the Bar Mitzvah boy during Friday Evening Services and Kiddush please consult the Rabbis.
Any family member is welcome to deliver speeches at the appropriate time. In addition Jewish family members or friends may be honored as follows:
lead Friday Evening Services, Shabbat Day Services, or Kiddush
Shabbat Morning Services - aliyot may be given out to Jewish men one wishes to honor during the Torah Reading; in addition, honors may be given for the lifting and wrapping of the Torah Scroll. The honor of wrapping of the Torah Scroll may be given to a Jewish boy who is under the age of Bar Mitzvah as well as to an adult, as desired by the family or by discretion of the Rabbi or Gabbai.
Please discuss with the Rabbis these opportunities for your family members and friends to participate in the service.
BAR MITZVAH CELEBRATION OPTIONS
Shabbos Day Congregational Kiddush
It is customary for a festive meal to be shared by the community to accompany such a joyous occasion. In keeping with this tradition, each family is responsible for sponsoring the Kiddush for all congregants, even if there is a private reception afterwards.
Shabbat Day Kiddush Lunch
The family may elect to have a more substantial Kiddush Lunch for the family and guests after the Congregational Kiddush.
For more options please consult the Rabbis.
As you plan your child’s Bar Mitzvah, please keep in mind the following guidelines:
The Bar Mitzvah child and family should be appropriately and modestly dressed.
The family may choose to purchase yarmulkes, benchers, kosher candy, etc. In addition, families wishing to provide their guests with a booklet recognizing the occasion and describing the various components of the service as well as all the different honors may arrange for this booklet with our office.
All items necessary for the Bar Mitzvah celebration [such as food, candies, kippot, service booklets, floral decorations, etc.] should be brought to the premises by Friday afternoon.
No food or other items should be removed from the synagogue until after Shabbos ends.
No photography, videotaping and recording are permitted on Shabbat. If you would like to photograph or videotape a dress rehearsal of the service, you may arrange to do so by contacting our office to reserve the shul for a specific date and time, or at a Weekday Service.
Contact us for cost for the Bar Mitzvah Program. This includes instruction, preparation and rabbinical services before and during the celebration.
In addition, private tutoring if necessary is available for a rate of $30 per 30 minute session.
Required additional purchases to be made through our office:
Tefillin - prices start at $250.
Tallis (optional) - prices start at $75
Siddur (Artscroll) - $25.
Chumash (Artscroll) - $65.
MP3 downloads: Torah blessings and Haftarah - free.
MP3 downloads: Torah portion - $18.
Kiddush, Catering, and use of Facilities
Please call our office for catering and kiddush fees.
Below are the names and contact information of our staff members who are available to answer any questions that you might have with respect to your child’s Bar Mitzvah.
For instructional, religious, and general questions please contact:
Rabbi Fishbain – 845-583-7374
Rabbi Kolakowski – 917-435-1091
We hope that this handbook has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the appropriate staff member. A Bar Mitzvah is an extremely important and joyous lifecycle event, and all of us at White Lake Torah Center/Congregation Beth Sinai Talmud Torah are delighted to share it with you.