Your journey begins with a warm, vibrant Jewish community, and here at CBI there are many ways to welcome your little one: naming, brit milah, our Mighty Moms support group for new parents, Tot Shabbats, and our Mini Menches program connect our future B’Nei Mitzvah students with the peers and families who will be with them every step of the way. Contact Chelsea Ferguson, CBI’s Director of Youth and Young Family Engagement, at (503) 222-1069 to connect and get involved.
For any other questions regarding the B’nei Mitzvah process, please contact Emily Silverman at 503-222-1069.
Past families have filled out a survey detailing how they planned their B’nei Mitzvah. Click here to request access to our Parent Guide.
Our arts-integrated Religious School program introduces our youngest students to the cycle of the Jewish calendar, and to the richness of its holidays and traditions. Our kindergarteners enjoy their first of our grade-level Family Programs at our Chanukah Fair, where they celebrate and learn about the holiday with their family as they make their own dreidels, eat traditional food, and play some educational games to get ready for the holiday!
In a CBI tradition derived from the 16th and 17th custom of German and Italian Jews decorating their infants’ swaddling cloth with blessings that wished the child a fulfilled life, the school year begins with each first grader decorating a wimple with their Hebrew name and meaningful symbols of their lives within and beyond the Jewish community at CBI. We display these all together in the Main Sanctuary during our beautiful Simchat Torah and Consecration Service, which marks the formal start of your child’s Jewish education. In a few short years, each child’s wimple will bind the Torah during their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Our second grade Family Program is Welcome to Tu b’Shevat. Students celebrate the birthday of the trees while learning all about Tikkun Olam (healing the world) and the importance of treating our environment well. This program is the first of many activism-oriented activities your child will be involved with their path to Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Families choose between two Religious School programs: our Integrated Hebrew Program, which meets twice weekly, and our Sunday Hebrew Program which meets only on Sunday with supplemental tutoring in our interactive Hebrew Lab.
Break out your calendar, favorite scheduling app, and maybe even some tissues, because this is the year families select a B’Nei Mitzvah date. You’ll receive a form to indicate preferences in the winter, and your date will be confirmed and finalized at a celebratory third grade family program, where clergy and CBI educators will be on hand to answer any timeline questions you may have and to assist your child as they familiarize themselves with their Torah portion.
At our fourth grade Family Program, Discovering the Prayer Book, students receive their own spiral bound prayer book and, with their families, learn all about the prayer and structure of our services with our clergy.
Your fifth grader will receive their own Mishkan T’filah Prayerbook and, as part of their B’Nei Mitzvah preparations, will be expected to attend seven Shabbat Services here at CBI. They also participate in our fifth grade Family Program, when they walk with their families to the Portland Holocaust Memorial and participate in a discussion about the Holocaust for families. They will have their initial meeting with the clergy and continue to practice with their training materials.
Our sixth grade students are expected to join us for twelve Shabbat services, seven on Saturdays and five on Fridays, and to attend B’Nei Mitzvah Training either on Sunday mornings or with a Cantor Cahana-approved private tutor. Each student has their second meeting with the cantor, where they will receive their Torah and Haftarah materials. Additionally, once your student starts Middle School, our Family Programs increase to three Shabbatinis a year, where families meet directly after Saturday morning Shabbat services to prepare for their upcoming B’nei Mitzvah. At the first, families and students come together to decorate and make a class tallit (prayer shawl). This is the tallit parents will bless their kids under on the day of their B’nei Mitzvah. Mitzvahpalooza is the second, giving students and families a chance meet with popular B’nei Mitzvah party vendors. Many students are also inspired to being work on their community service Mitzvah Projects, as the Palooza includes information about past projects as well. The final Shabbatini of sixth grade is Torah Trek, where the clergy and Ben Sandler, CBI’s Education Director, lead an activity-filled trek and service through the woods.
Enjoy your summer, but don’t forget to practice with your training materials! You’ll also meet with Cantor Cahana over the summer break.
Religious School and B’nei Mitzvah Training continues. We also recommend attending at least four Shabbat Services (two on Friday, two on Saturday). Seventh grade families programs, also called Shabbatinis, happen on Sunday mornings during normal Religious School hours. These programs generally match the overall Religious School annual theme. The final Shabbatini is always an introduction to our High School program and focuses on the importance of retaining friendships and connection to Judaism.
Your family will meet with our clergy six to eight weeks before the big day for discussion and review, as well as to discuss your child’s D’var (speech). Typically, a final rehearsal Tuesday before the B’Nei Mitzvah.
Give our B’nei Mitzvah Coordinator, Emily Silverman, a call at (503) 222-1069 or email her at to get started.
Every fall, our Religious School offers new students who didn’t get a chance to participate in this program the opportunity to make their own wimple. Contact the Religious School Office at (503) 222-1069 for details.
We offer a two-year Adult B’Nei Mitzvah program. Call or email Bitsie Appleton, our Clergy Assistant, in the CBI Main Office at (503) 222-1069 for details!
You and your child are just getting started! Plan on a follow up meeting with the CBI clergy in the weeks after your B’Nei Mitzvah, as well as continued opportunities to connect with your community, including community service opportunities, Youth Groups, travel, and the chance to pass along so much of what you have learned to younger students through participation in our Madrachim program.
For questions and further information on post b’nei mitzvah programs, contact Chelsea Ferguson at 503-222-1069.