B’nei Mitzvah

B’nei Mitzvah

The Journey to B’nei Mitzvah at CBI

Wherever you are on your journey is exactly where you should be. Welcome!

The Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a monumental milestone in the Jewish life of your child. CBI is committed to guiding you and your family through this journey and working with you to make sure the process is meaningful and stress-free.

The B’nei Mitzvah journey at CBI begins in third grade, when your child received their Bar/Bat Mitzvah date and parasha. If your child was not enrolled in religious school in third grade, or if you are unsure whether he/she received a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, please contact Cantor Rayna Green.

Throughout fourth and fifth grades, your child learned about the siddur– the Shabbat prayer book– and began to work on recognizing Hebrew letters and phonics. At the end of fifth grade, they received their hard-backed blue Mishkan Tefila prayer book with their name embossed on the cover– this is the book they will practice with and eventually use to lead services on the day of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah! If you have questions about this prayer book or aren’t sure if you got one, please contact Elisabeth Sutton.

In sixth grade, your child continued on to a more rigorous and focused Hebrew course, which set the foundation for beginning to prepare their Torah reading and leading the service at their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Approximately 10-12 months prior to your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, your child will begin the preparation for his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Over the course of this year, your child will meet with our clergy a number of times, sometimes one-on-one and sometimes together with you. The purpose of these visits is to make sure that your child is setting and keeping his/her goals for preparing the service and Torah reading, and to guide you and your family through the process of preparing the service.

My family might need something a little different. What do I do?

Are you new to our community? Your child only recently started showing interest in religious school or Judaism? Are you concerned a mainstream Bar/Bat Mitzvah track isn’t quite what your child needs? We’re here for you! Bar/Bat Mitvzah can look very different for different students and different families. We are committed to working together with you to make this important Jewish a meaningful, positive experience for both you and your child.

Planning the celebration

Believe it or not, we can help with this, too! CBI has a beautiful events hall that can seat up to 225 guests, and we have a dance floor! We work with a number of caterers and vendors who can transform your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration into the expression of joy and celebration it is meant to be, whether on CBI campus or at another venue. For questions about rentals or to rent our space please contact Chelsea Micali.

For any other questions regarding the B’nei Mitzvah process, please contact Cantor Rayna Green at 503-222-1069.

Pre-K and Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!

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!

First Grade: Consecration

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.

Second Grade: Tu B’Shevat

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.

Summer Before Third Grade: Pick a Program, Either Program!

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.

Third Grade: Save the Date

Break out your calendar, favorite scheduling app, and maybe even some tissues, because this is the year families select a B’nei Mitzvah date. Sometime in February or March, you’ll receive a form to indicate your preferences, 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.

Fourth Grade: Start Studying!

It’s time to start delving into the world of the Hebrew language! But why..? In our fourth grade family program, Why Ivrit? we spend time getting to know the history of Hebrew and what role it plays in our Jewish education and development. This is a fun program, full of goofy word games and fascinating etymological context.

Fifth Grade: Getting Close!

At our first fifth-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. Later in the year, your fifth grader will receive their own Mishkan T’filah Prayerbook, which they will practice from and eventually use to lead services on the day of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah! They also participate in an additional 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.

Sixth Grade: Getting Closer!

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.

Summer Before Seventh Grade: Just a Little Further!

Enjoy your summer, but don’t forget to practice with your training materials!

Seventh Grade: Almost There!

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.

Clergy Meetings: The Final Countdown

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. For more details on the B’nei Mitzvah process the year leading up to the celebration, click here, or contact Eve Cosper for questions.

Joining CBI or our Religious School Program After Third Grade

Give our Program Director, Chelsea Micali, a call at (503) 222-1069 to get started.

New to the Community? Does Your Student Want to Make a Wimple?

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.

Interested in Adult B’Nei Mitzvah?

We offer a two-year Adult B’Nei Mitzvah program. Call or email Eve Cosper in the CBI Main Office at (503) 222-1069 for details!

B’Nei Mitzvah and Beyond: the Journey Continues

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 Micali at 503-222-1069.