Bar and bat mitzvahs in the Mishkan Ha’am community are beautiful events, each reflecting the strengths and growth of the young person at the bima that day. A boy who never spoke above a whisper faces the gathered congregation and poses questions that spark a lively discussion. A girl who wrestles with the meaning of God participates in a service she helped craft to reflect her conflicts on the subject. A boy begins his service by playing a favorite violin melody. A girl leads more than one hundred friends, family, and community members through the service from beginning to end, assisted gently and sparingly by the rabbi.
How did they all arrive at that day with such self-assurance? Through a combination of shared inquiry, a supportive community, and of course, Torah and haftarah study.
Taking the steps toward becoming bar or bat mitzvah can be daunting, a rush of excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty. In Mishkan Ha’am, children and families do not undertake the journey alone. They share the journey, a rich process of exploration and learning, with other families, the congregation’s rabbinic leader, and with individual tutors.