Having a bar or bat mitzvah at CRC is a special and memorable experience for the student, their family and friends, and the CRC community. This important Jewish "coming of age" ritual has traditionally marked a young person's acceptance of the commandments by which their Jewish community abides.
The bar mitzvah takes place after a boy has turned 13. The bat mitzvah can take place after a girl has turned 12, although some families choose to wait until she is 13.
At CRC, the bar or bat mitzvah is a recognition of an important milestone in an individual's life and education. It is an opportunity to celebrate with family, friends and the community all that they have accomplished so far. And, it is their first chance to make their own commitment to living according to Jewish values of lifelong learning, community and tikkun olam - repair of the world.
Preparing for Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah
Preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah at CRC is a process, and each young person is supported at every step by CRC's rabbis, staff, educators, and Board.
Below is a basic outline of the process for becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, beginning in 5th grade. While this is the most common process and timeline, it can occasionally vary based on the individual needs of the student. If you anticipate needing special accomodations for your student, please contact us as soon as possible.
Of course, most students begin their religious education much earlier than 5th grade. Religious school programs at CRC, intended to introduce the student to the Jewish community, to CRC, and to our holidays and rituals, is available for all ages of youth. Some prior Hebrew instruction, either at CRC Hebrew School (beginning in 3rd grade) or through a day school, private tutor, or other program, is strongly recommended prior to beginning the b'nai mitzvah preparation process in 5th grade.
If you would like information about enrolling your student in religious school programs or scheduling a bar or bat mitzvah, please contact Jen Fishering at email@example.com or 314-361-1564, ext. 101.
Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at CRC:
4th grade, around Thanksgiving: B'nai Mitzvah date sign-up forms mailed.
4th Grade, January or February: B'nai Mitzvah workshop - receive Binder and Portion Booklet.
9 months - 1 year prior to date: First meeting with Rabbi (student and parent/s attend); rehearsal dates mailed out.
9-10 months prior to date: Contact Tristan Jones to start working with a b'nai mitzvah tutor.
6-9 months prior to date: Select Mitzvah project. CRC's rabbis and staff may be consulted if you need help with project ideas.
5th-6th grade: Student continues to attend Hebrew School and attend some Shabbat services.
6th grade: Begin working with Rabbis Susan and Randy on Mitzvah Project and d'var Torah (teaching on student's Torah portion). Family should attend Shabbat morning services together.
6th Grade Workshop, February or March: Each student prepares his or her own prayer/service book (siddur). Begin organizing and writing your siddur. If you are planning to have a b'nai mitzvah party at CRC, it's time to start planning this too--contact Nancy Weigley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-361-1564 ext. 105.!
1 month before: E-mail siddur to Tristan Jones if publishing at CRC.
3 weeks before: Rehearsal with Rabbi Randy.
1 week before: Final rehearsal with Rabbi Susan.
After bar or bat mitzvah: Attend teen programs (7th-12th grades) and chant blessings at High Holy Day services!
B’nai Mitzvah Siddur Preparation
One of the unique parts of having a bar or bat mitzvah at CRC is that each student creates his or her own prayer book, called a siddur, to be used during the service. While the Shabbat prayers remain the same, each student personalizes the book with that week's Torah and Haftarah portions and their own readings and images.
CRC's Office Manager & Membership Coordinator, Tristan Jones, will help you with preparing your siddur. The information and files on this page will help you get started by downloading a template as well as the Hebrew fonts used for the prayers in the template.
Follow these steps to create your siddur
1. Double click on the appropriate file below, open, and choose SAVE AS. (Select a folder on your computer.)
2. Do you see Hebrew?
If not, repeat the steps above to download and add the Hebrew fonts. (Macs generally will not display the Hebrew fonts; but when sent to Megan's PC, they will appear.)If you continue to have problems, please contact Megan Cahill at (314) 361-1564 ext. 100.
Megan can help you with customizing your siddur. Below are sources for some of the information you will need to make the siddur your own!
1. To obtain your TORAH and HAFTARAH PORTIONS (in Hebrew and English), click here.
2. To obtain your HEBREW NAME (in Hebrew) click here to view a list of Hebrew names from which you may copy and paste into your siddur.
Contact Jen Fishering at (314) 361-1564 ext. 101 or email Jen if your name is not on the list.
3. To find your HEBREW B'NAI MITZVAH DATE, click here. (Be sure to check the "After sunset" box if it is an havdalah event.)
4. If you have questions about the TRANSLITERATION and/or CAPITALIZATION of Hebrew words, click here.
5. Need GRAPHICS/PHOTOS? Try these sites:
Central Reform Congregation provides you with siddur production services. Our capabilities include: full color covers, editing, formatting, proofing, collage-making, and printing.
Here is our process:
1. For each of the two rehearsals, you will receive 3 proof copies—one for the rabbi, one to keep/share, and one to mark your corrections—plus a three hole punched copy in a binder that you will use during rehearsals and when leading the service.
2. To have adequate time to prepare rehearsal copies, we need your print-ready digital siddur 7-10 days before your first rehearsal. You will have opportunities to make corrections and updates following each rehearsal. However, the siddur you e-mail us should include your welcome letter, all your quotes, a description of the mitzvah project, your thank you page, and all your pictures and graphics. If you believe you will have a problem meeting the deadline, please involve us early!
3. Please prepare the siddur in Microsoft Word. If you prepare your siddur in non-standard fonts, please include the font when e-mailing your siddur. If you want to know how to do this, contact Megan.
4. If your pictures and graphics aren’t digital and you are unable digitize them, we can scan them here. We also make picture collages. In these cases, please bring in your pictures early.
5. Once you have e-mailed the siddur, all changes should be either marked up in the rehearsal copy or e-mailed as a list. Please do not resend your copy of the siddur with corrections.
6. Remember, per the rabbis’ request, the cover picture cannot be of your child.
7. The cover is in color; pictures and art in the body of the siddur are printed in black and white.
8. Number to print? Figure one book for each invited guest Add 60-65 additional books for other congregants and guests if the b’nai mitzvah is Saturday morning.
9. To make arrangements, contact Jen Fishering at 314.361-1564, ext. 101, or email Jen.
Choosing a Mitzvah Project
Tikkun olam - repair of the world - is a core value at CRC, and an important part of having a bar or bat mitzvah is the mitzvah project. This is a project chosen by the student which gives him or her an opportunity to "give back" to the community and help someone else. CRC students have chosen a wide range of mitzvah projects, ranging from making gift bags for children in the hospital to collecting donations for an animal shelter to bringing a screening of an important film to St. Louis.
We encourage b'nai mitzvah students and their families to think about the mitzvah project early in the process. Because some mitzvah projects take time to arrange, planning ahead will give you the best opportunity to participate in a project that is meaningful to you.
Periodically, organizations come to us with mitzvah project ideas; we will post those here when we get them. The CRC rabbis are also a great source of ideas and can be consulted when you meet with them.