B’nai Mitzvah Preparation Timeline

Because children become a B’nai Mitzvah at different points in the year, we find it helpful to think in terms of months from the event.  This list draws on the experiences of the staff and parents.

12 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Family meets with Rabbi to discuss goals
  • Choose Family Mitzvah work based on the list
  • Choose student’s Tzedakah project
  • Send out “Save the Date” notices to family and friends. (Email is a good way to notify people)
  • If it is appropriate, select a hotel for out of town guests and reserve rooms  (If your event is in the fall this is a good idea, because of football season, to do this a year in advance.  You need less lead time if it is a spring or early summer event)

8-12 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Start weekly tutoring
  • Family studies student’s parasha together
  • Attend 7th Grade Family Lifecycle Workshops
  • Communicate with tutors about student’s progress

6 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Finalize the invitation list
  • Order invitations  (Options include online invitations, children making invitations that can be copied, or more traditional invitations)
  • Research Party options (popular venues may require up to a year)

4 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Set up a meeting with Alex Locke who will also contact the house caterer at Beth Jacob for Kiddush and, if appropriate, Friday night dinner. Review options and pricing
  • Purchase tallit, t’fillin, and kippah for your child
  • Book kitchen for baking and select mashgiach
  • If appropriate, book vendors for party

3 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Set up regular meetings with Rabbi Rubin
  • Report on family mitzvah work to Rabbi Rubin

2 months before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Assess student’s fluency in all parts of davening and readings
  • Contact Alex Locke to set up a baking time in the kitchen if you are doing your own baking with friends and family
  • Polish and Rehearse Torah readings, including “Rishon” (the first Torah reading) for weekday services
  • Polish Haftarah and service parts
  • Start D’var Torah work with Rabbi Rubin
  • Send out invitations
  • Decide on centerpieces for Kiddush tables if your child wants them
  • If your guests are staying at local hotels, arrange for shuttles or transportation

1 month before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Continue practicing
  • Complete D’var Torah (with practices in sanctuary)
  • Buy paper goods for Shabbat morning Kiddush
  • You will be contacted by a Beth Jacob gabbai to determine aliyot and honors
  • Set up two rehearsals in the sanctuary with tutor
  • Set up D’var Torah practice in the sanctuary with Rabbi

1 week before B’nai Mitzvah:

  • Rabbi will go over with your child all of the expectations for their participation in the morning minyan.

Tutoring

Each child is an individual, and students will start their formal B’nai Mitzvah tutoring eight to twelve (8 – 12) months before their assigned date, at the best time to ensure the best preparation for that child. One of our B’nai Mitzvah tutors will contact you when it is time to begin. Our B’nai Mitzvah tutors will work with the student until the B’nai Mitzvah.  Tutoring takes place weekly, on Sunday mornings and/or on Tuesday evenings, either in small groups or in individual segments.  During tutoring sessions, students will perfect their skills in order to lead the congregation in davening and to chant their Torah and Haftarah portions.  CD’s of individual parshiot can be given to the B’nai Mitzvah on an “as-needed” basis. Tutoring will continue until the B’nai Mitzvah date.

If Your Child Has a Summer B’nai Mitzvah

The synagogue expects that if your child has a late summer B’nai Mitzvah all preparations will be completed before the summer.  The rabbis’ and tutors’ long experience is that there will be almost no time to prepare during the summer months.

We believe that it is important for our children to attend Jewish summer camps.  In order to be sure your child is able to both attend camp and be ready for their simcha, it is our goal for them to have accomplished the vast majority of what they need to know BEFORE leaving for camp. Several of our area camps will arrange for tutoring during the summer. This tutoring should only be counted on for purposes of maintaining learned skills.

If you are planning to be gone for any length of time during the summer please speak to Rabbi Rubin about your plans.  The synagogue needs to be in touch with you for the month immediately prior to the event.