B'nai Mitzvah FAQs

What does the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process look like at Beth Or?

We start the planning timeline for your child’s journey in January of 4th grade when you receive your date. From there, we have created multiple events within the religious school framework in 4th, 5th & 6th grade that will help prepare your child. Generally, one year out, your teaching sessions with the clergy will begin leading up to a meaningful and memorable event.   

What do my Bar/Bat Mitzvah fees pay for?

The fee for Bar/Bat Mitzvah is $1200.  The fee is divided into three payments.  The first payment is due when you confirm the date of your child’s mitzvah.  The balance is paid in two installments when your child is in 5th and 6th grade.  The fee covers all training as well as sponsorship for the Oneg on the Friday night before your child becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and the bima flowers for that weekend.  All children and their families are honored in the Order of Service and Spotlight for these sponsorships.

What is a Mitzvah Project?

Tikkun Olam is an important value of Jewish life. Therefore, we require all of our students to make a difference in the world through volunteer work and/or fundraising for a cause that they are passionate about. In the spring of 5th grade, through a Mitzvah Project Fair, your child will be exposed to various Mitzvah projects from our previous students. You will explore your options and discuss this process with Rabbi Bonder during your meeting with him. You will be contacted by Ellen Wichterman when it is time to set up this meeting.

What is ushering?

As you enter the synagogue before Friday night or Saturday morning services, you are warmly greeted by members of the Beth Or community, otherwise known as “ushers.” As part of your requirements, we ask that all B’nai Mitzvah families usher for an assigned weekend. This will occur roughly one year before your date, on the pre-anniversary of your child’s Torah portion. We hope you will join us for the service. A letter will be sent to inform you about this date and explain the process.

What are the options for renting space at Beth Or for my celebration?

Beth Or is a beautiful synagogue and the perfect place to host various events during your Bar/Bat Mitzvah weekend. Options include, Friday night Shabbat family dinner, Saturday morning Kiddush or luncheon or dinner celebration. For information, please contact Amy Abrams or Genevieve Yanity, 215-646-5908.

How do I schedule my Bimah photography?

Since there are no photos or videos allowed during services (including cell phones), you have the opportunity to “pre”-enact your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah prior to your date. Most people choose to do this the week before your big day. There are set days and times that the Bimah is available, as well as the clergy, if you are interested in including them in your pictures. Contact Genevieve Yanity to schedule time on the Bimah, and Barbara Murtha to coodinate clergy for your photography session.

Things to consider when scheduling your photography time slot …

  • Do you want clergy in your pictures?
  • Will you be including extended family?
  • Will you be getting hair and makeup done?
  • Do you want to take photos outside?  

Please review our photography guidelines with your photographer. 

What is the appropriate attire to wear on the Bimah?

Clothing chosen for any person coming up to the Bimah, for either an aliyah or to have a pulpit honor, must be in keeping with the sacred space that our Sanctuary demands. We ask that all women have their shoulders covered and that clothing is modest. The Rabbis request that those coming up for an aliyah wear a tallit and kippah.

What is the schedule for the B’nai Mitzvah weekend?

There will be a rehearsal scheduled by Cantor Green on Friday morning. The family celebrates the upcoming Mitzvah by lighting the Shabbat candles on the Bimah and concludes service with Kiddush and Motzi.