Congregation Beth Shalom

B’nai Mitzvah and Beyond

As our students become Bar and Bat Mitzvah, they also explore Jewish history, theology, customs, and traditions on a deeper, more meaningful level. 7th and 8th grade focus on the two most important events in the 20th century for the Jewish community: the foundation of the modern state of Israel and the Holocaust.

Our 7th grade class studies the Torah, Jewish spirituality, and the history of Modern Israel. Our 8th grade class continues the study of Jewish texts and spirituality as well as the history of the Holocaust through a variety of first person accounts, historical texts, and historical fiction. In addition, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade focus on living a Jewish life. These grades build upon one another culminating in a “Kiddushin laTorah” ceremony in 10th grade:

  • Grade 8: Kiddushin I: Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness) Mitzvot, Holocaust focusing on the Righteous Gentiles and Partisans, social justice
  • Grade 9: Kiddushin II: Avodah (prayer, work, ethics) Comparative Religions, Lifecycle/Holidays on an adult level, meditation.
  • Grade 10: Kiddushin III: Torah: Comparative Judaism, Torah, Talmud, Mishneh, Tosafot, different approaches to interpretation of Torah

Kiddushin LaTorah

At the conclusion of their 10th year of Jewish instruction, students will celebrate Kiddushin LaTorah, where they will be “married” to the Torah at Shavuot evening services. All students must complete the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah curriculum, and meet designated attendance requirements. In addition, students will be enriching the Shavuot Service with creative readings, music, and art or submitting an essay integrating learning from grades 8, 9, and 10. Topics for the project will be pre-approved by the 10th grade teacher.