The Adult Bnai Mitzvah (ABM) class at CBS is directed to Jewish adults who never participated in a service as a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. We also welcome adults who had a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah experience as a child and want to expand their Jewish knowledge by participating fully as members of the ABM class.

Adult Bnai Mitzvah Class of 5783

Attendance. The ABM class of 5784 began on Sunday, September 10, 2023, and continues through June or July 2024 when the ABM class will lead a Shabbat Shacharit service. Classes meet in person from 9:00 am to 11:15 am in the Library at CBS except during public school vacations or when the teacher or students are out of town, in which case some or all the participants will meet via Zoom.

New members to the current class would be considered if they have the requisite knowledge of Hebrew and are otherwise generally on par with the skills and knowledge of the current class. Otherwise, they would be welcome in September 2024 to the Class of 5785.

ABM Shabbat Shacharit service. The group will participate in the Shabbat Shacharit service from Kol Haneshamah. Prayerbook for Shabbat and Festivals consistent with current Congregation Beth Shalom practices. Class members will co-lead the service, lein (chant) Torah, share Divrei Torah, and celebrate with family and friends. Class members should plan to join the Congregation in the Kabbalat Shabbat service on the Friday evening of that same weekend. We will study the Siddur and use Pray Tell. A Haddassah Guide to Jewish Prayer as a resource about Jewish prayers and services.

Knowledge of Hebrew. Participants must have completed the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP)  Hebrew Reading Crash Course Level I online or demonstrate comparable Hebrew reading facility. We will continue to develop Hebrew reading skills by going mindfully through the NJOP Hebrew Reading Crash Course book again and by reading Torah and Siddur selections as we proceed through the course. Hebrew pronunciation will follow current modern Israeli practice as described in Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim on pages xxviii-xxviii.

Torah trope and leining. After achieving Hebrew reading proficiency, we will learn Torah trope. There will be several opportunities for class members to lein (chant) Torah on Saturday mornings prior to the ABM service in the summer. Learning Haftarah trope and leining Haftarah is optional and at the initiative of individual class members who may work with the ABM teacher.

Torah Study. Members are strongly encouraged to join Rabbi David’s Torah Study on Shabbat mornings at 9:00 am before services, either in person or on Zoom. The ABM class may augment that by reading and discussing the first chapters of the book of Shemot (Exodus) in January; these chapters cover the Israelite enslavement in and exodus from Mitzra’im (Egypt), as well as the Ten Commandments and Rosh Chodesh.

Jewish holidays study. We may study Chanukkah, Purim, Pesach, and Shavuot as time permits.

Homework. Class members are expected to practice Hebrew and Torah skills and complete all assignments in advance of every class. They also need to study the Shabbat Shacharit service in preparation for leading it as a group. They can expect to lein Torah and lead parts of the Shacharit service approximately monthly beginning in late winter to build confidence in advance of the ABM service in the summer.

Affiliation. Class members must be Congregation Beth Shalom members and are expected to make a $400 additional donation for participation in the class. Each will receive a copy of Kol Haneshamah from CBS. The maximum class size is around six students.

Thomas E. Wolff