Mazel Tov as you and/or your child prepare for one of the most influential times of a young person’s Jewish journey. Ohef Sholom Temple’s Bar/Bat/B’nai Mitzvah program aims to properly instruct a mitzvah student to lead the Congregation in prayer and prepares him or her on the responsibilities of being a member of the adult Jewish Community. At OST, we are committed to making this a wonderful, positive experience for your family.
Our program is open to children of OST members in good standing. All children must meet the requirement of having 4 years of Hebrew school or Jewish day school experience prior to enrolling in our Bar/Bat/B’nai Mitzvah program.
Here are some suggestions of other Mitzvot for which you might design your own project/card:
Chesed Shel Emet: Honoring the Dead and Comforting Mourners
(Being present, even in sad or uncomfortable situations.)
Hiddur P’nei Zakein: Esteeming the Elderly
Kedushat Ha-Lashon: The Holiness of Speech
(Watching what you say.)
Kedushat Haz’man: Festival Observance
(Experiencing the cycle of the year.)
Kibud Av Va’eim: Honoring Parents
(Respect for Mom/Dad/Caretaker.)
Sh’mirat Shabbat: Honoring the Sabbath
(Making Friday night to Saturday night special.)
Tikkun Atzmi: Repairing the Self
Tzaar Baalei Chayim: Non-Cruelty to Animals
(Treating other creatures with dignity.)
Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah (MGM)
“One performed Mitzvah leads to another.”
-Pirkei Avot 4:2
Our MGM Mitzvah Program is learning-through-doing and is based on the phrase above. A “mitzvah” is not only a “good deed” we perform for others, it’s a sense of “commandedness” – what is required to be worthy of being called a Jewish “adult.” If a student can “get into the habit” of performing mitzvot – not only in preparation for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah – that habit can turn into a life-long endeavor.
Listed below are three facets of our MGM program: Talmud Torah, I’yun T’filah and Gemillut Chasadim.
Some deeds are required, while others are optional.
Students must complete a minimum of 10 deeds (4 mandatory + 6 additional of choice).
*If 18 deeds are completed, students receive a certificate and prayer book with their name etched on it.
All MGM deeds must be completed and submitted at least ONE MONTH before the Bar/Bat Ceremony.
Learning with a Jewish Purpose.
History of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
MANDATORY: Read about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs HERE. Discuss your findings and your feelings with your parents. Submit a brief paper (typed/approx. 200 words) about this discussion.
Your Hebrew Name
Find out about your Hebrew name – the person for whom you were named; the Biblical origins of your name; the story of your last name (meaning, origins, etc.). Submit a brief paper (typed, approx. 200 words) or create a visual display about your name and submit an image of your display.
Conduct An Interview
Conduct an interview with a grandparent, other relative or family friend about life as a Jew when s/he was your age. Record a video of the interview or type up notes from the interview. Submit the video or paper.
Get Creative Jewishly
Option 1: Learn to play a piece of Jewish music from the liturgy or from a contemporary composer on an instrument. Record yourself on a video or audio file to submit.
Option 2: Create a piece of Jewish art, or write a creative piece of poetry or prose on a Jewish subject to submit.
Start a Jewish Library by adding a Jewish book or audio book to your personal collection. Submit the name of your book along with an outline of the categories of Jewish books and examples you would like to include in your library.
View a Jewish television program, film, play, or musical. Submit a brief report (typed, approx. 200 words) about it or record an original 7-minute sequel or prequel.
Explore Jewish Culture
Visit a Jewish museum or exhibit. Submit a brief report (typed, approx. 200 words) or an image of a photo display (20 photos) you create, highlighting what you experienced.
Saving A Life
One of the most important mitzvot is “Pikuach Nefesh” – saving a life. Take a course in CPR or other lifesaving techniques. Submit a copy of the course completion certificate (photo, PDF, etc.).
Sincerity in Our Prayers.
Attend Evening Services
MANDATORY: Attend 5 Shabbat evening services within a year. Document the dates attended.
Attend Morning Services
MANDATORY: Attend 5 Shabbat morning services within a year.
Candle Lighting & Blessings
Light and say the blessing over the Shabbat candles at home every Friday evening for a month. Document the dates and submit video clips or links.
Lead your family in the full Kiddush (blessing recited over the wine cup) every Friday evening for a month. Document the dates and submit video clips or links. The text is on page 5 of the Mishkan T’filah prayer book.
Reciting the Sh’ma
Recite or sing the Sh’ma every night before going to bed for a week. Document the dates for submission.
Recite the Motzi (blessing said over bread) before your main family meal every day for a week. Document the dates and submit video clips or links.
A Prayer for the Sick
Write an original prayer for a sick friend or relative. Submit the written prayer and/or a video clip of the prayer.
Ritual Jewish Objects
Make and use a ritual Jewish object such as a mezuzah, havdallah candle, chanukiah, challah cover or matzah cover. Submit a picture or video clip of your object.
Lead Part of the Passover Seder
Prepare for and lead part of a Passover Seder. This project should include more than just “the four questions.” We are looking for you to take on an “adult role” at the seder. Submit a video clip or link of you leading the seder.
Have A Havdallah Service
Conduct a Havdallah service in your home at the end of each Shabbat for a month. Appropriate blessings are on page 306 in the Mishkan T’filah prayer book. (This can be done with a group of friends and family members as a group project. For example, 5 friends meet each week at a different location).
Light the Temple Shabbat Candles
~WORTH TWO DEEDS~
Light the Shabbat candles during three Shabbat Friday night services at Ohef Sholom Temple within one year.
~WORTH THREE DEEDS~
Light the Shabbat candles during five Shabbat Friday night services at Ohef Sholom Temple within one year.
Contact Liz Vincent at Temple to arrange lightings: 757-625-4295 or email her.
Invite A Friend for Shabbat Dinner
Invite a friend over for a Friday evening Shabbat dinner that you help make. Be sure to light the candles and bless the wine and challah. Tell us about the experience by submitting a brief report, a photograph, and/or a video clip or link.
Acts of Loving Kindness.
Design Your Own Mitzvah Project
MANDATORY: Design your own Mitzvah Project. You must have your project approved by the Religious School Director before beginning the project. Submit a brief report on your project when it is completed, including photographs and/or video clips or links.
Be A Tutor
Tutor younger students in Hebrew School a minimum of 6 times. Arrange this with the Religious School Director. This builds on the mitzvah of V’ahavta L’rei-acha: Loving Neighbors. Document the dates of tutoring with student names.
Volunteer Your Time
Donate at least 13 hours of your time as a volunteer to an organization. You will need to provide verification of your hours worked from the organization. This builds on the mitzvah of V’ahavta L’rei-acha: Loving Neighbors. Submit image and/or PDF of verification.
Participate in a Walk-A-Thon in our community. This builds on the mitzvah of V’ahavta L’rei-acha: Loving Neighbors. Document the date of Walk-A-Thon and submit photos and/or video clips or links.
Collect food, clothing, books, toys, movies, etc. and donate them to a charitable agency. This builds on the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim: Hospitality. Document the items collected to submit along with images and/or video clips or links.
Plant A Tree In Israel
With your own money, plant a tree in Israel. Submit a photo or PDF of the certificate for your tree. To plant a tree, contact the Jewish National Fund at
1-800-542-8733 or go to www.jnf.org. This builds on the Mitzvah of Bal Tashchit: Not Destroying.
Help A Sick Friend
Help a friend who is sick by bringing them homework, books, messages, and/or materials from school. Document the items brought to submit along with images and/or video clips or links.
Make A Contribution to A Temple Fund
With your own money, make a contribution to one of the Temple funds in honor of or in memory of someone you know. A list of funds is available in the Temple office. Contact the Temple office at 757-625-4295 or email us for assistance. This builds on the Mitzvah of Zikaron: Memory.
Help With A
Donate your own money or volunteer 10 hours of your time to a Jewish charity. Submit a paragraph about the charity (along with any images and/or video clips or links). This builds on the Mitzvah of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh ba-Zeh: All Jews Are Responsible for One Another.
Write and mail a formal letter to an elected official about an issue of Jewish concern to you, your family, community, nation or people. Appeal to those in power that it’s a commandment to follow through on promises. Submit an image or PDF of the letter. This builds on the Mitzvah of Nedarim: Keeping Commitments.