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B’nai Mitzvah

Bar and bat mitzvah—a special passage at any age 

We celebtrate our youth coming of age as young Jews at 13 or later when that’s best for them. We also celebrate adult b’nai mitzvah. Our oldest? Doris Sperber celebrated her bat mitzvah at 100 in 2008.

Young people

Prospective bar and bat mitzvah students must be enrolled in our Religious School for at least grades 4–7 or an equivalent program approved by our clergy. Hebrew studies begin in the third grade. By grade 6 students have learned the parts of the service and begin to study prayer melodies.

Cantor David Frommer helps students learn trope (chanting melodies) and blessings. Members’ children enrolled in Jewish day schools begin attending Sherith Israel’s Religious School in sixth grade.

Family B’nai Mitzvah class

To help the whole family prepare for a meaningful simcha, all sixth graders and their parents take part in the Family B’nai Mitzvah class taught by our clergy. Students and parents study Torah, learn about bar and bat mitzvah traditions and liturgy, and discuss what makes this is a meaningful event in their lives.

B’nai Mitzvah Family Shabbaton

Sixth graders and their families spend a full Shabbat together with our rabbis and educator at a beautiful retreat center outside of the city, from Friday dinner through Havdallah on Saturday evening,

To schedule a bar or bat mitzvah, parents should speak with Rabbi Graf when their child enters 4th grade. Information: Nancy Sheftel-Gomes, education director, 415.346.1720, x28, or email Nancy.

B’nai Mitzvah Handbook

Pick one up in the Religious School office.


Many adults who have not had the opportunity to be called to the Torah, or who wish to reaffirm their commitment to Judaism with a second bar or bat mitzvah, do so at Sherith Israel. They learn to read or upgrade their Hebrew, discuss matters of law and tradition, and study trope to chant from the Torah. Participants come away with a joyous feeling of accomplishment and new confidence praying with the congregation.

Adults study for their b’nai mitzvah in group sessions. B’nai mitzvah are called to the Torah together on one Shabbat during the year. 

Information: Nancy Sheftel-Gomes, 415.346.1720, x 28, or email Nancy.

Party facilities

Wonderful space for b’nai mitzvah celebrations

In addition to our beautiful sanctuary in which b’nai mitzvah take place on Saturday mornings, Sherith Israel offers outstanding facilities in which to celebrate. Newman Hall seats up to 200 people for lunch or dinner and is served by a full kitchen. Bart Hall provides space for an oneg or smaller party.

Facility rental information: Nia Taylor, 415.346.1720, x17 or email Nia. 

Sat, December 16 2017 28 Kislev 5778