Sign In Forgot Password

Adult Education: B'nai Mitzvah Class

The concept of a Bar Mitzvah ceremony, the coming-of-age ritual for boys, can probably be traced back to the 14th Century. The first known girl in the US to become a Bat Mitzvah was Judith Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan in March 1922. In most Conservative and Reform synagogues it is now a standard practice to have both Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.

Since the early 1970’s, the role of women in TI synagogue ritual has steadily expanded. In 1990 the first adult Bat Mitzvah class was formed under Cynthia Peterman. Madeline Nesse took over the Anshei Mitzvah (Adult B’nai Mitzvah) class and coordinated it through May 2006. Since then, the three adult Bat Mitzvah classes have been taught by Rabbi Avis Miller, the most recent one culminating with a Shabbat ceremony in 2014.

Raised as a Reform Jew before girls were allowed to read Torah from the bimah, I had no idea how powerful it would be to stand before the congregation and raise my voice. The class took me on a transformative spiritual journey that actively continues to this day. I'm glad to see a B'nai Mitzvah class offered again at Tifereth Israel this year. 
2008 B'nai Mitzvah Student

TI continued the Adult B'nai Mitzvah tradition by starting a new series in the Spring of 2019. The class is open to people who never had a ceremony and those who had a ceremony as a young person but wish to study and understand our tradition as adults. The class will cover Jewish beliefs, ethics, liturgy, holidays and life cycle events. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas and life experiences in class discussions, as they gain knowledge and skills, and meet new companions for their Jewish journey.

The class is taught by Rabbi Avis Miller of the Open Dor Foundation, along with TI member Janet Nesse, who will supplement class discussions with instruction in Hebrew and Torah chanting. The class will culminate in a group Adult Bat Mitzvah on a Shabbat on a date to be determined soon.

It's not too late to join the class! Contact Rabbi Avis Miller for more information.

Fri, November 22 2019 24 Cheshvan 5780