Lifelong Cycle of Learning

In order to emphasize Jewish growth as a lifelong process, we incorporate opportunities for learning and celebration at significant points along the path. As a community we celebrate Jewish growth and learning through the following Rites of Passage.

Hanukkat Banim  (Celebration of the commencement of Jewish learning)

We celebrate the commencement of a young student’s (usually a kindergartener or first grader) formal Jewish studies with blessings, tallitot (Jewish prayer shawls), and a welcoming to Torah. Every student creates a wimple which will be used to bind the Torah when he/she is called to the Torah upon becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, thus providing a symbolic link between key lifecycle moments.

Siyyum Ha-Sefer (Completion of the Book)

After mastering basic Hebrew decoding in 2nd grade, students are presented with a siddur (a prayerbook) which marks the beginning of their study of prayer. Parents personalize this siddur by creating individualized book covers and composing special blessings for their children to mark their transition into Hebrew literacy.

B’nai Mitzvah (Children of the Commandments)

Our community supports students and their families as they prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah and then rejoices with them throughout this lifecycle event. Prior to Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students and parents participate in the Rabbi’s Torah class where they study and discuss Jewish texts. The Torah class culminates in a weekend-long retreat.

Siyyum  (Graduation)

Our graduating seniors mark the completion of their Jewish education at Beth El by sharing an excerpt of their Siyyum paper with family, friends and the congregation at a Shabbat service. This paper, written over the course of their 12th grade year, is a reflection on a Jewish topic of personal interest.