A Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Student Pre-Initiation Ritual

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

Beginning to face life as a Jewish adult requires life skills, as well as ritual capabilities. The ability to face the darkness and listen for meaning while being supported and trusted by your elders to be able to make it, does lurk in the B-mitzvah process, in so far as our children are learning how to listen for the Torah as it applies to life.

It also helps to create something that helps frame the transition in stage of life. This might be a pre-b-mitzvah gathering to be held outdoors, perhaps with a bonfire.

The initiate selects and brings 3 or so photos from various stages of his/her growing up to share and speak about.

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah initiate can also bring in a box of symbols of youth Such a box could contain things like a finished workbook, stuffed animal or plastic action figure, completed coloring book, photo of a sixth or "n"th grade graduation, clay-thing made at summer camp.

One choice is to place and seal these in a box, to be opened at fifty, sixty or seventy three years of age, a memory box. Others choose to hold up each item (selected not to be the most important examples of these) and to burn them in the fire, symbolizing moving on, growing up. Or simply hold them up and speak about them and take them back home.

The initiate might write, in advance, a paragraph about the most formative event in his/her conscious life and set this to trope, the musical notation s/he has most likely learned for reading Torah. By doing this, the way in which trope was designed to emphasize meaning becomes very clear. By sharing his/her own life story with "the tribe" in this way, the student becomes empowered to find holiness in the torah of his/her own life.

The initiate might speak about one dream or experience s/he is most looking forward to in adulthood.

Next, the parents might step forward with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student’s tallit, place it over her/his shoulders and speak about the qualities of their child. Friends and teachers if in attendance can speak about the initiates strengths as well.

Create a spontaneous group blessings for closing, all start together. "May you be blessed with ________________" and then take turns filling in the blank.