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Booking Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Bat/Bar Mitzvahs are very special events at the First Narayever Congregation. Only one Bar/Bat mitzvah is celebrated on a Shabbat unless a family wants to arrange for siblings to celebrate their bar or bat mitzvah together. Bar and bat mitzvahs are on Shabbat mornings because leading the service with the shul community is an important part of the experience.

In exceptional circumstances the ceremony can be held on a Rosh Chodesh or a Hol Hamoed if it falls on a Sunday. The services and expectations for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs on these dates are the same as for the Sabbath except that a Haftorah is not read and tefilin is worn. It is shul policy to also honour the child on a Shabbat morning with an aliyah and for the family to sponsor a kiddush on that day.

The shul encourages Bat/Bar Mitzvahs as close as possible to the young person’s birthday and has a policy that the Shabbat following the Jewish birthdate of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be the date that is initially reserved as of right for the family, unless that date is a Yom Tov. The first Shabbat immediately following the Yom Tov will then be reserved. The family is not bound to book on the reserve date and may consider any other that has not yet been selected as of right.

As a matter of principle based on the Narayever's strong belief in gender egalitarianism, the default age for all Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies at our shul is 13 years old. All families will hear from us approximately two years prior to the year of their child's 13th birthday in regard to setting a date for their celebration.

We are aware, of course, that the traditional age of maturation for girls according to rabbinic sources is 12, and we would like to accommodate those families who wish to celebrate their daughter's Bat Mitzvah at the earlier age. If that is your situation, please contact the rabbi.  

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Contract

The Narayever begins the Bat/Bar Mitzvah booking process two years prior to the calendar year of the simcha. (So, for example, we began accepting bookings for 2022 in early 2020.) A meeting is held early in the booking year for parents of prospective Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to explain policies and procedures, to introduce them to other members of their cohort, and to help them think about how to make the ensuing two-year process more meaningful for their families.

Following the meeting, we will initiate a 30-day period of accepting booking requests.

Once the 30 day period has passed, each family will receive a contract noting the date of the Bat/Bar Mitzvah and indicating that the family agrees to the requirements set out in these guidelines. The contract also indicates that the family agrees to sponsor the kiddush on the day of the simcha. This contract must be returned together with the booking fee determined by the Board. The Bat/Bar Mitzvah date will be confirmed once both the signed contract and booking fee are received by the shul.

The booking fee is $450.00. Members who have paid this fee shall be protected from any fee increases.

Delaying the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Booking

Families who do not book a Bat/Bar Mitzvah within the initial booking period may not have the option of booking the first Shabbat immediately following the Hebrew birth date. Families may contact the office to book a date that is still available.

Changing Dates

Requests for a change of date after its confirmation will be considered for dates that are still available. A change of date will require a new contract to confirm the new date. (There is no change fee.)

If more than one family requests a change to the same date and that date is open, then the assignment will be to the family who makes the request first. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Chair will help resolve any issues that arise regarding date assignments.

Tue, August 9 2022 12 Av 5782