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 Home > Bar Mitzvah Guide > Reform > Meaningful Projects

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Meaningful Projects for Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
Reform Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

Beyond Party Plans
Why limit a bar mitzvah’s meaning to the choice of the right invitations and caterer? Taking on a project works best when it’s the bnei mitzvah’s choice. One girl, Elana Erdstein, entered the annals of Jewish history by collecting unused samples of soap, shampoo and toothpaste from local hotels and corporations and donating them to homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters.

Ecologically-minded bnei mitzvah can take on an outdoor clean up project.

Torah and Jewish heritage study? before a bar mitzvah? aren’t all the lessons enough? Yes, but what about making a formal commitment to share what has been learned with a friend who won’t be having a bar mitzvah. A degree in Judaic studies is not a prerequisite for Jewish teaching. If you know aleph, teach aleph.

Personal Change
If the goal of a bat mitzvah is to create a grown up Jewish identity, then taking on Jewish deeds is a good start. Bring Shabbat home. Light candles, say kiddush, make a hamotzi. Begin learning more of the service. Make an effort to buy and read Jewish books. Turn up the volume when news about Israel is being reported. Take little steps to become a more conscious Jew.

Twinning
When the Iron Curtain stood between Jews and Jewish practice in the Soviet Union, it was popular to keep their plight on Jewish consciences by twinning the bar mitzvah boy with a Jewish boy in the former U.S.S.R. Now in a post-Glasnost world, twinning is done differently. Pairs are created with kids who have mental disabilities that keep them from celebrating a full ceremony. Righteous gentiles who saved Jews from annihilation can be chosen as twins as can young Jews who perished in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising or those who did not reach their bar mitzvah year because of the Nazi-led slaughter. That a Jew can stand today, proud to be a Jew, is the ultimate victory over those forces of destruction.

 

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READ MORE:
Why are the Bat and Bar Mitzvah Celebrated at Ages Twelve and Thirteen
Confirmation vs. Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Reform Teens: The Confirmation Ceremony
Evolution of the Bar Mitzvah over the years
Is a formal celebration of a Bar MItzvah or Bat MItzvah required by Jewish law?
Setting Date, Selecting Venue for the Celebration of a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Services and Ceremonial Rituals at the Synagogue
Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The Tallit: Prayer Shawl
What a Bar and Bat Mitzvah Need to Know
Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - Reading Hebrew & Torah Reading
Preparation for the Bar Mitzvah Celebrations: Ideas and Alternatives
Beyond Party Plans: Meaningful Projects for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service: Instructional Booklets and Schedules
The Bar Mitzvah: Roles for Parents
Memorial Prayers during the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebrations
Videography and Photography during Bar Mitzvah Services at the Synagogue
Bar Mitzvah boy and Bat Mitzvah Girl of Divorced Parents.  What to do?
"Honors" during Torah Reading at Synagogue Bar Mitzvah Services
Synagogue Etiquette: What to Wear, How to Conduct Oneself

Party with a Jewish Flavor: Jewish Food, Jewish Music, Jewish Dance, and more
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Speeches
Candle Lighting Ceremonies
Charity and Good Deeds: The Bar Mitzvah opportunity for doing something good!




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