Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Kahal Chaverim has a thriving B’Nai Mitzvah program that builds upon our students’ Sunday School education and culminates in a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that is meaningful to them and their family.  Our pre-Mitzvah class, which is led by our ceremonial leader, prepares our students for their B’Nai Mitzvah after they have demonstrated that they have achieved certain competencies consistent with our Humanistic Jewish values and that reflect the high standards we use to define “responsible young adult” in our community.  The requirements include guided exercises in ethical problem-solving, a significant social action project, a research project related to Humanistic Judaism, and a gratitude essay. The B’nai Mitzvah students articulate their values and present to the younger children in the Sunday School. They also write and lead a class Shabbat or Havdalah service. 

Research projects completed by Kahal Chaverim youth have included such topics as:

  • A study of Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder of Humanistic Judaism
  • Interfaith families
  • Non-Jews responsible for saving the lives of Jews during the Holocaust

Examples of B’Nai Mitzvah Social Action projects are included on our Community page.

 

Sample introduction to a Bat Mitzvah

WELCOME
Welcome to the Bat Mitzvah of our daughter, Sophia. We are delighted and honored by your
presence on this important day in the life of Sophia and our family. Your presence enriches the
meaning of this happy occasion and adds special warmth that only family and friends can
provide.

Once upon a time, the meaning of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah was clear and everyone present for
the occasion shared the same traditions and beliefs. This is not the case today. Many of the
people we love and care about are not Jewish, and the beliefs of those who are Jewish vary
greatly. It is our hope that this booklet will help everyone better understand and enjoy Sophia’s
Bat Mitzvah, and what it means for our family.

For those of you who have participated in or attended B’nai Mitzvah services in the Reform,
Conservative, or Orthodox traditions, much of today’s service will not be what you are
accustomed to. As members of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Morris County,
Sophia’s Bat Mitzvah reflects the beliefs and traditions of Secular Humanistic Judaism, a branch
of Judaism that officially began in the early 1960’s.

Our congregation offers non-theistic possibilities of acknowledging and celebrating Jewish
identity, culture and heritage. Believing in the power and responsibility of individuals to shape
their lives independent of supernatural authority, we embrace a human-centered philosophy that
combines rational thinking with a celebration of Jewish culture and identity.

As Secular Humanistic Jews, we are creating new ways of celebrating the coming of age of
young men and women. We want to recognize this important passage in the lives of our children
in ways that reflect tradition, while being consistent with our modem beliefs. We believe that
Jewish history and experience teach meaningful contemporary lessons about ethics, history,
culture, community and personal responsibility. We also believe that throughout this history, it
has been the power of people, within themselves and among others, that has provided the
meaning of these experiences, and sustained our people. our” individual and community
practices and ceremonies reflect our philosophy and provide for expression of our Jewish
heritage in a way that is truly meaningful and fulfilling to us.

Today we celebrate this creative and evolutionary aspect of Jewish culture.

WE INVITE YOU TO ENJOY
SOPHIA’S
BATMITZVAH!

Upcoming Events

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Learn more about our Ceremonial Leader, who performs ceremonies for our community as well as for non members.

Want to Join Us

Kahal Chaverim is a growing community that brings together families from all around Morris and neighboring counties to celebrate Jewish culture and values. We are one of 30 congregations affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism, founded in 1963 by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine.