Every person in our community is on a journey - trying to make sense of what it means to be a Jew and a human being in the world. Our children are also on this journey. The Rabbis teach that Torah was given down in fire, and in fire it is to be transmitted. In our teaching, we try to recapture the intensity of that fire, to strive to understand what message it has for us today. We teach our children to question, to debate, to fall in love with Torah, finding their own voices in the chorus of our tradition.
Our students don't have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah - they become Bar or Bat Mitzvah. They become responsible adults in the Jewish community and in the world. They have the privilege of entering into the sublime world of Torah study, exploring the mysteries of the texts and ideas that have sustained our people. They become partners in the work of tikkun, of fulfilling the Prophetic mandate for the universal recognition of human dignity, the loving pursuit of justice, and shalom. They learn of the dangers of apathy and indifference, so freely fostered in our culture, and begin to ask questions about what they can do to make a difference.
The Bar or Bat Mitzvah is not the end of the journey; it is the beginning. Our students are affirming, publicly, that they are part of the conversation, and our community is responding with a resounding "YES! We believe that you have something important to say, and we are ready to hear you."
There are several key components to our program:
TORAH: Students learn how to engage text seriously, study traditional rabbinic commentaries and find their own voices in the tradition.
ETHICS and SOCIAL JUSTICE: Through an extended social justice project, students examine core Jewish values, in theory and in practice.
TEFILLAH: Students become active participants in the davening of our community.
HEBREW: Students become comfortable reading Hebrew and will acquire a very basic Hebrew vocabulary, including words related to Torah study and Jewish life, and common Hebrew phrases.
TORAH READING: Students are trained in Torah and Haftarah Trope, giving them skills to read any parasha.
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