B'nai Mitzvah Program & Recordings


Audio Prayers, Torah Blessings & Haftorah Blessings


Temple Shaaray Tefila offers an outstanding B’nai Mitzvah program designed to make the preparation process clear, helpful and hopefully, stress free. Our goal is for your child to become an active, well-educated and responsible member of the Jewish community.


The B’nai Mitzvah program, an extension of our Religious School, teaches students to read and chant Torah, Haftorah and lead our congregation in worship during their B’nai Mitzvah ceremony.


In order to create a truly memorable occasion, a vital part of the Temple Shaaray Tefila B’nai Mitzvah experience entails participation from parents and family members.


Our dedicated rabbis, educators, and staff are involved during every step of the B’nai Mitzvah process. Below, please find a grade by grade overview of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah journey.</p.


As questions arise, please feel free to contact our B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator at 914.666.3133.


Learn all about The Family Walkway. below

Summary of B'nai Mitzvah Preperation

1Year 1
4th Grade: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Date and Orientation Meeting – Typically held at the beginning of June, parents and students come together for a compulsory meeting, where a we offer a general overview of the entire B’nai Mitzvah experience. Families hear from our rabbis, educators, senior staff, as well as those who are involved in the Bar and Bat Mitzvah process every step of the way.

Families will receive their child(ren)’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. As well, each family will receive a copy of Putting God on the Guest List by Jeffrey Salkin, a focus on how to reclaim meaning and purpose in your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
2Year 2
5th Grade: Breakfast meetings with the clergy – once or twice during the fifth grade year, we invite our fifth grade students, along with their parents, to a Sunday morning breakfast with our rabbi and cantor. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect informally with them, and explore relevant topics on the journey toward Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Start attending Shabbat and holiday services – as part of the Shaaray Tefila community, we have the hope and expectation that Bar/Bat Mitzvah families will join us on Friday evenings throughout the year, so that all can have the opportunity to engage with our community as we celebrate Shabbat together.
3Year 3
6th Grade: B’nai Mitzvah family Retreat (Shabbaton) – in an ongoing effort to make Jewish identity and ritual relevant in the lives of our congregants, especially at this time of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, our 6th grade families are invited to participate in a B’nai Mitzvah Shabbaton Retreat. Throughout Shabbat, families have a great time bonding while participating in learning, worship and social action opportunities with members of our senior staff. 6th graders and parents spend a Shabbat away from Northern Westchester, engaged in study, community building, spiritual preparation, and having part, as part of the process in becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Additionally, it is our goal to have our families immersed in congregational life, so we request that B’nai Mitzvah families continue attending Shabbat and holiday services with frequency.

Tutoring – Depending on one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, some of our students will begin tutoring in their sixth grade year. Students will be assigned a tutoring session, devoted to preparing your child(ren) for participation in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. While the Cantor oversees the progress of all of the children throughout this period of preparation, each child will be assigned one teacher/tutor with whom he/she will meet each week. During this individual instruction time, the primary focus will be upon learning to chant the appropriate Torah and Haftarah portions, as well as regular review of our liturgical prayer. Each week, students will have an opportunity to review everything that has thus far been learned, and will be introduced to an appropriate assignment for the coming week. It is crucial that students keep up with assignments at home each week in order to best insure preparedness at his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Mitzvah Projects – A mitzvah literally translates as “commandment”, taken from our Torah, intended for us to either perform or restrain from a particular action. By becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, one is publicly accepting responsibility for obeying these commandments. Therefore, it is our expectation that each of our B’nai Mitzvah participates in group and individual mitzvah projects. The ToaSTY B’nai Mitzvah Project (TBMP) provides a wide variety of social action opportunities for students to choose from. Our hope is that students will enhance the lives of others by performing these deeds, and will also be of significant meaning to him/her.
4Year 4
7th Grade: As was noted in years two and three, our goal is to have our families immersed in congregational life, so we request that B’nai Mitzvah families continue attending Shabbat and holiday services with frequency.

Family Torah Portion Meeting – Approximately two months prior to one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the family will meet with Cantor and Rabbi to discuss the meaning of their Torah portion. This session will also serve to provide your child with some thoughts regarding their Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech, and help them explore personal meaning and relevance of Torah to their lives.

Tutoring – as previously mentioned in Year Three, all students will have begun tutoring by the beginning of their seventh grade year. Please refer to the above section for more information regarding tutoring.

During Year Four, students will continue working on their Mitzvah projects.

Workshops – Within one year of a student’s Bat/Bat Mitzvah, the Cantor and Rabbi will hold sessions that are geared to further enhance and explore important elements of Jewish identity and the B’nai Mitzvah experience. During these sessions, students and parents will meet in small groups to explore their Torah portions, their personal feelings regarding Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and the relevance of Judaism in our lives today. The workshops (not necessarily in this order) consist of an overview of the service structure, and lessons on rites and rituals. These workshops are a required part of the B’nai Mitzvah program, and while we can not truly mandate attendance at these workshops, we strongly encourage participation.

Family Meetings and Rehearsals – Approximately one month prior to Bar/Bat Mitzvah, families will meet with Cantor and Rabbi to talk about the service, honors, aliyot, prayers, as well as to share the family’s personal story.

Following this, students will have two rehearsals on the Bimah in the Sanctuary, one and two weeks prior to his/her date, enabling students to feel more comfortable and grounded in leading their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.

B’nai Mitzvah Projects

A mitzvah is not only a good deed, but the obligation of every Jew.

An important part of becoming a b'nai mitzvah is understanding Judaism's commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world, through first hand experience. Mordecia Kaplan said it best, “a theology which is not a plan of social action is merely a way of preaching and praying. It is a menu without the dinner.” During b'nai mitzvah training students will work on both an individual and group mitzvah projects. The b’nai mitzvah class will come together and volunteer as a group about once a month. The b'nai mitzvah students build community, bond with each other, and experience first hand Judaism's commitment to social action.

B’nai Mitzvah Individual Projects

Students will pick an individual mitzvah project that reflects their passions, connects to their b’nai mitzvah parsha, and/or they find meaningful. Students can look at the project suggestion list for ideas (an updated list is coming soon!). Students will provide their b'nai mitzvah tutor with updates as they work on their project, and the tutor will keep track of the project's process. Stephanie Ben Simon, the Director of Education, is available as a resource during all the steps of the project. She can help with brainstorming ideas, troubleshooting during projects, and answering any questions. Stephanie can be reached at sbensimon@templest.org or 914-307-0466.


List of Independent Project Options
Torah Portion Service Themes

B'nai Mitzvah Group Projects

Please reach out to Stephanie Ben Simon for more information and any questions.