6/7 B’nei Mitzvah Club [BMC]

2020-2021 / 5781

Overview

The B’nei Mitzvah Club at Temple Emanuel is a unique experience that brings together students in 6th and 7th grade to learn, pray, socialize and celebrate with each other. The B’nei Mitzvah Club is the result of ongoing reflection regarding the current Torah Center programming and worship experience for our students and their families, and the desire to improve it. Designed to create a cohort community, the program provides opportunities to build and sustain relationships during the B’nei Mitzvah year and beyond. 

Overall Goals 

  1. Students will know that they are part of a cohort community whose members learn and celebrate together. 
  2. Students will understand the significance of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. 
  3. Students will master the synagogue skills needed to be full participants in our Temple worship, both as the shaliah tzibur (worship leader) and as an attendee at Shabbat services.
  4. Students will know the responsibilities inherent with becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and engage in tikkun olam (repairing the world) and Mitzvah opportunities.

Curriculum

The curriculum spans two years (6th and 7th grade) and includes five key components:  

1. Grade-level Learning

At times, students will be in class with only their peers who are in the same grade. There are certain topics to cover and content expectations to reach that will be the focus of this class time.

6th grade
  • Hebrew (Sunday mornings – 10-10:40 am)
    • Students will continue their Hebrew studies with an emphasis on prayer understanding and mastery.  Opportunities for additional practice and review will be available asynchronously using the online application, PrayerTech
  • Prayer workshops (3-4 times during the year) 
    • These sessions are designed to take students beyond the technical skills required to lead the B’nei mitzvah service. In them, students will explore and discover what prayer and praying means to them.
  •  Mitzvah Project Workshop (once during the year)
    • Students will learn about tikkun olam (repairing the world) and how the things they do can help make our world a better place. Students will begin to think about their individual B’nei Mitzvah project as well as what activities they would like to participate in as part of the group. 
7th Grade
  • Lessons From the Holocaust (Sunday mornings – 11:20 am – 12 noon)
    • In this course, students will address the topic of the Shoah (Holocaust) from many perspectives.  Several different mediums will be used in class: short lectures with literature, film, and primary sources to encourage discussion and reflection. A visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC is planned for some time in the spring.
  • Mitzvah Project Presentation  (Sunday mornings – 10-10:40 am – during Kesher)
    • Students becoming B’nei Mitzvah will have the opportunity to present the details of their Mitzvah projects to their classmates. This will give them a chance to practice public speaking, to provide an opportunity for the class to contribute, and to give other students ideas for their own projects.
2. Cohort Learning

Kesher/Building Connections (Sunday mornings –Grade 7: 10-10:40 am, Grade 6: 11:20 am-12:00 noon)

In addition to the grade level courses, there will be opportunities for students in both grades to mingle and learn together. The Kesher/Building Connections class will sometimes be taught in parallel sessions (each grade in class by themselves but learning the same material) and sometimes as an entire cohort, with all 6th and 7th grade students coming together for special programming and experiences. In the class, students will explore how to transform core principles of Jewish life such as joyfulness, being created in the image of God, and walking a Jewish path into opportunities to lead and inspire our Torah Center community. Our teens will leave this class with an understanding of Torah, TaNaKh, and other texts, a working definition of God, and pride in their status as emerging children of the commandments (B’nei Mitzvah).

3. Prayer

6/7Minyan (Sunday mornings –Grades 6 & 7: 10:45-11:15 am)  

As part of the Kesher/Building Connections curriculum, students will come together each Sunday morning for the 6/7 MInyan to experience prayer in a service designed especially for them. Together they will explore ways to pray and connect in both traditional and creative ways.

4. Shabbat Morning Experiences 

Once or twice each month, students will gather on Shabbat morning to eat, learn and pray together. This piece of the B’nei Mitzvah Club has proven to be very successful at creating community among our students. When they come together to engage in interactive learning and to share in each other’s accomplishments, they feel more connected to each other. Additionally, attending Shabbat experiences and services becomes a practicum that complements our Hebrew learning and tutorial process. When there is a service to attend, Students are expected to use their classroom siddur (prayer book) throughout the service.

Our start time will depend on the B’nei Mitzvah schedule; be sure to watch the emails for the start time. On mornings when we are meeting before the service, the B’nei Mitzvah Club will begin at 9:30 am. We will meet online, first for class and then for services. Bring your own breakfast and join us! 

On Shabbat mornings without a service, we will start at 10:30 am. On those days, enjoy a little extra sleep, wear your pajamas and bring your own breakfast for a more informal approach to Torah study and Shabbat. 

Participation in the Shabbat Morning Experiences is an important part of the B’nei Mitzvah Club. Attendance is strongly encouraged throughout the year. Students who have become B’nei Mitzvah are expected to show support and camaraderie with their classmates by continuing to attend Shabbat morning sessions after their ceremonies

5. B’nei Mitzvah Tutorial

Starting approximately nine months before the B’nei Mitzvah Ceremony, students will begin meeting weekly with a tutor to learn the appropriate Torah and Haftarah passages.  The 30- minute tutoring sessions will take place online via zoom at a time mutually agreed upon by tutor and student. The Tutorial schedule will be facilitated by the Torah Center Administrator.  

Schedule

While the schedule may change due to special programs and events, it will generally be the following:

Sundays (every week beginning September 13, 2020)
  • 10:00-10:40 am 6th Grade – Hebrew, 7th Grade – Kesher
  • 10:45-11:15 am 6/7 Minyan 
  • 11:20 am – 12:00 noon 6th Grade – Kesher, 7th Grade – Lessons of the Holocaust

Zoom Links will be sent out before classes begin.

Saturdays (dates noted below; 1st class on September 12, 2020)
  • 9:30-10:15 am Breakfast, Interactive Study [mornings w/ B’nei Mitzvah]
    • October 10, October 24, October 31, November 14, February 13, February 20, April 10, April 24, May 15, May 29, June 5
  • 10:30-11:15 am Breakfast, Interactive Study [mornings w/no B’nei Mitzvah]
    • September 12, December 5, December 19, January 9, January 23, March 6, March 20