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5 Tips for an Awesome Bar/Bat Mitzvah–From a Teen Who’s Been There

October 18, 2015 2 min read

Our Communications Intern Hannah Elbaum is on Kveller this week, giving advice about planning an awesome Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  Check out the beginning of the piece here, and read her full blog post on Kveller.  

In my synagogue, each young woman and man has an opportunity to write their own prayer as part of their b’nai mitzvah service. Most of my friends spoke about health and happiness, and their passions for soccer, drawing, or seeing their friends. After thanking God for my family, I talked about becoming a Madricha, a teaching assistant in the Hebrew School, and a member of the youth group board.

I understand that I’m a little strange in this sense.

Usually, parents beg and nag their kids to attend a Jewish learning class, not the other way around—especially around the time of bar and bat mitzvahs. As a current freshman in college who’s done just about every program my local Jewish community has to offer, I know a little bit about what works and what doesn’t in engaging kids and teens in meaningful Jewish practice. Here are five tips to helping you and your child create a bar or bat mitzvah experience filled with meaning and connection.

1. Find a Mitzvah Project with Passion

At my synagogue, the b’nei mitzvah students sign up for a project that is organized by the adult leadership. Once a month, groups would go ice skating with Special Olympics or read with kindergarteners in an afterschool program. My group made large batches of chicken soup and decorated cards for congregants who were experiencing joys or sorrows. It was mostly behind-the-scenes work, and while I knew it was helpful, I did not feel that I was having an impact.

Read the rest of Hannah's advice here.  

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