Celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone in the spiritual growth of a young Jewish adult. It signifies that a young person has not only reached the age of thirteen, but is ready to assume greater responsibility in Jewish life. Students deepen their relationship to Judaism as they lead a Shabbat service, read and teach Torah to the congregation, and participate in a mitzvah project.
The B’nai Mitzvah process begins in religious school, where each student learns to read Hebrew and increases their Jewish knowledge. Bar and Bat Mitzvah dates are finalized in 5th grade, and over the next two years, families participate in community-building and preparation workshops. Approximately one year before the ceremony, students begin working on prayer fluency and Torah reading. Three months before the ceremony, the family meets with Rabbi Loving to shape details of the service, and she and the student then continue working together privately.
Our goal is for everyone, including interfaith and LGBTQ families, to feel welcomed and embraced during the B’nai Mitzvah process. We are privileged and honored to share this life cycle event with you, and we hope that it is filled with love, meaning, and a sense of pride and accomplishment. May it truly be a stepping-stone on the path of a lifelong engagement with Jewish learning.
For more information about the B’nai Mitzvah program at Temple Beth Orr, please feel free to contact: Suzanne Andisman, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click here to view our 2016 B’nai Mitzvah Handbook
Meet some of our upcoming and recent B’nai Mitzvah candidates:
Zachary Katz is in 7th grade and his favorite subject is band. He plays percussion. He loves football, the drums, cars, and YouTube. For his mitzvah project he volunteered at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Ft. Lauderdale. Over the course of many visits he hugged and played with many sick dogs, swept out and cleaned their rooms, and did the laundry.
Aimee Finkelstein is in seventh grade and is a straight A student. Tennis is her favorite sport as she is currently taking private lessons, classes at school, and participating on the Junior High School tennis team. She started playing when she was five years old and has worked her way up to being awarded MVP this year on the tennis team. Her love for animals is so unstoppable. She could not be more compassionate about animals which is why she wants to be a veterinarian in the future. She enjoys playing the piano and starring in plays at Next Stop Broadway with her friends. For her mitzvah project, she is collecting supplies and money for Paws 2 Care Coalition where they save neglected, abandoned and shelter animals,www.paws2carecoalition.org.
Ryan Weisenfeld is in seventh grade and from a small age was happiest spending time outdoors. This has turned into his love and passion for fishing. He has caught hundreds of fish from small bass to a large 200 lb. bull shark. Ryan’s favorite subjects in school are Civics and Math. He is currently a Peer Counselor at school and enjoys helping other students new to the school and his teachers. During the summer Ryan has attended a variety of camps from Blue Star sleep away camp in North Carolina to local sports and adventure camps. Ryan and his family spent time in Costa Rica last year and volunteered their time in a Tikkun Olam project. Ryan built stairs at an animal rescue center, helped paint an elementary school, brought school supplies for the children, and planted in the children’s rainforest. Ryan loves to play soccer, spend time with his friends and ride his skateboard. He has one older brother, Devon, who is 15 and a 1 year old Wheaten terrier named Dallas.
Gavin McCarthy is an 8th grade student in the Gifted Program at his middle school. His friends call him “Ginger” and he is very social. Gavin has bowled since he was 4 ½ years old and presently bowling in 3 leagues. He carries a 175 average but has bowled as high as 277. He looks forward to going to Taravella High School where he hopes to be on their bowling team. He considers himself a “Gamer” and plays on his phone or X Box when he can. He likes Rap music. Gavin attended preschool and kindergarten at Temple Beth Orr.
Madison McEwen is in 7th grade. Madison is currently President of her middle school and enjoys student government. She plays the clarinet in the Honors Band at her school. She will be starting her 9th year of Coral Springs Recreational Soccer. Madison raised almost $2,000 for Golden Retrievals Rescue of South Florida for her Mitzvah Project where abused and abandoned Golden Retrievers are helped medically and in hopes to find a forever home in the later years of their lives. Maddy adores hanging out with her friends and loves YouTube sensation Miranda Sings.
Leah Ronkin celebrated her bat mitzvah at Temple Beth Orr on Saturday, November 1st, 2014. She is a straight-A Honor Roll student and select member of her Middle School Jazz Band. She also plays trombone in the Advanced Band. Her other interests include piano, drama club, math team, drawing, creative writing and cartoons. Last year, she starred in her school’s production of Seussical Jr. She is also a poetry contest winner. For her bat mitzvah project, Leah collected and delivered donations to Cats Exclusive, a 501(3)c no-kill shelter serving cats and dogs in Margate, Florida since 1979. www.catsexclusive.org.
Matthew Feinstein is in 7th grade. Matty’s favorite subject is band, where he plays French Horn and also started this year with the drum corp. He has always been a big fan of building things and trying to figure out how they work. From early on, he loved Lego’s. His favorite set was a replica of the space shuttle that was close to 1200 pieces! Matty’s Mitzvah project will be connecting with students in Israel and beginning a pen pal program.
Madeline Finkelman is in 7th grade. Madeline has a passion for performing and has appeared in several local musicals, including starring roles as Alice in Alice in Wonderland and Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She’s currently preparing for her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Madeline also loves playing guitar, spending time with her friends and eating pizza. Madeline was proud to have collected hundreds of cans and dollars for the Rabbi Gross Food Closet with her pie eating contest mitzvah project at the end of the summer.