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We call our program for emerging teens "Be Mitzvah." Inspired by the words of Rabbi A.J. Heschel, "Just to BE is a blessing." Be Mitzvah is an inclusive, non-gendered, non-patriarchal name.

Becoming a Be Mitzvah is a meaningful milestone in the life of a Jewish student. Our Be Mitzvah services are filled with music as the student leads most of the service. A highlight is the young person’s address to the congregation, based upon his or her on understanding of the Torah text. Family members are also invited to participate. We are committed to the full inclusion of non-Jewish parents and other family members in the service.

While we regard Be Mitzvah as an important milestone in a young person’s religious education, it is not the conclusion. Students are expected to continue in our Lev Learning (religious school) program through the capstone of Confirmation (10th grade). 

One of the beauties of our Lev Learning program is that we get to know our students as individuals. If you have a son, we are happy to see him become a Bar Mitzvah, or a daughter, equally happy to see her become a Bat Mitzvah. If you have a child who is gender fluid, or one whose personal pronoun is "they," or is just questioning, or expressing solidarity with friends who are non-binary, we are happy to see them become a Be Mitzvah.  

It may take a little time to get used to Be Mitzvah, but it is inclusive, and we think it might spread around the Jewish community. As in English, the B sound is the second letter of the Hebrew alef-bet. It gives us the first letter of Beracha, which means Blessing, and it is also the first letter of the Torah, the beginning of creation, Bereshit, the story where God creates us, every one of us, in the image of God, transcending gender, transcending difference. May we be blessed to encourage many children to become Be Mitzvah.  

Cantor Jay O'Brien's Be Mitzvah Blessings













Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784