Healthy Friendships, a Jewish Value to Evolve During the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Process

Here's a meaningful family activity that also works well on retreats and in group gatherings: Write down up to ten people you would be sure to show up for if they asked for help and, who you know will also show up for you (not including parents, your siblings or your pets.)

Many people are startled to find they don't think they have ten true friends.

This is another way to look at what a minyan, the quorum for prayer, is really meant to be. Even if you don't go to synagogue so often, we all need a cluster of people for inter-caring. Life is very hard for those who don't cultivate true friendships. Let's consider this futher:

One young woman who attended our B-mitzvah Adventurers' Club workshops was able to quickly write down her ten friends and told us why. "My grandmother asked me at the beginning of my bat mitzvah training year to give her a list of ten of my peers that I’d love to get to know better. Every month she invited all of them over and we’d go out exploring together. Now that I’m fifteen, I’m so happy to have them all in my life! After a few months, we started to make the gathering plan ourselves and we still do get together socially and for social action projects."

This doesn’t have to be big budget recipe, a monthly time of coming over to one person’s house for "check-in" with each other can also work very well. Have a different person play some theme music for this each month, each person gets to take a few minutes saying: "These are the headlines in my life, and how I feel about them is......:". Breaking out into some dancing, games, or discussing a current event in general society might emerge. An older sibling, maybe college age or cool aunt/uncle/grand/parent can be asked to serve as on-site advisor.

What are your criteria for a true friend? How do you rate yourself as a friend? Is it time to attract new friends? Who are the first people to put on your bar/bat mitzvah invite list? Why your immediate family and these people we've been discussing, your inner circle, the minyan of your life