Your journey begins the year you turn 10 by choosing a date to stand on the bimah as you become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at age 13. Throughout the next few years leading up to the actual service, you and your family will attend family learning sessions and informational meetings with other families going through the B’nai Mitzvah process, and personal family meetings with the Rabbi officiating the service.
Seven months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, students begin weekly meetings with their tutor. During these meetings, which continue until the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, the student will prepare all blessings, prayers, Torah, Haftarah, and English readings. Six weeks preceding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the student must attend special sessions with a Rabbi to learn the significance of their Torah portion and to prepare the D’Var Torah. Meetings with the clergy are essential for the student’s preparation.
It is Temple Emanu-El's policy that your child must be enrolled in the Diamond Family Religious School or at a Jewish Day School prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Mitzvah Project Suggestions Written By a Recent Bar Mitzvah
Temple Emanu-El is very proud of Harrison Frank, a recent Bar Mitzvah who took on a leadership role within our community and created a list of suggested mitzvah projects for kids preparing for their Bnai Mitzvah. Harrison interviewed the volunteer coordinators at each organization listed below and brainstormed possible ways that kids can get involved.
If you have any questions or would like consultation for your mitzvah project from a young man who took his mitzvah project very seriously, we'd be happy to put you in touch.
Thank you for considering doing your mitzvah project for Garden Isaiah. Here are some of the things you can do to help Garden Isaiah.
- Collect pumpkins after Halloween to chop up for the compost bins. You would also have to do some publicity and help prep the compost bins.
- Purchase plants and plant a particular bed during the growing season. Contact Peggi Stone or Robert Wittenstein for suggestions on appropriate plants.
- Advertise the garden on social media, flyers and through your school as a way to get more volunteers for the garden.
- Organize a volunteer day. For example, set up and advertise a day of volunteering at the garden and maybe have snacks for the participants.
- Set up a fundraiser for the garden through either your school or Temple Emanu-El.
Second Helpings Atlanta
Thank you for considering Second Helpings Atlanta as your B’nai Mitzvah service project. Below are the ways that you can help drive out hunger and food insecurity in Atlanta through Second Helpings Atlanta.
- Food Drives - Set up cardboard boxes in school cafeterias or at your Temple and collect non-perishable foods and then help deliver the food collected.
- Prepare meals that are packaged in full or half size aluminum pans and then deliver to one of our partner agencies.
- At your Temple or school, set up and advertise a bake sale where instead of cash, people pay with canned goods to purchase the treats that will later be donated.
- Set up a fundraiser for Second Helpings Atlanta through your Temple or school.
- Select a once a month route where your family and/our a group of friends picks up food from a food donor and delivers the food to a local agency. Keep track of the amount of food that you've helped to collect for the six months prior to your mitzvah.
Zaban Pardies Center
Thank you for considering the Zaban Pardies center as your B’nai Mitzvah Project. This is a very effective way to help homeless couples in Atlanta. Contact Nancy Shapiro for ways you can help!!
- Help to serve dinner in the evening to the couples.
- Set up and facilitate a day that you and all your friends and family meet up and pack lunches for the couples at the shelter.
- Set up a donation drive to collect supplies for the couples.
- Set up a bake sale and/or lemonade stand where all the profits go to the Zaban pardies center so they can stay up and running.
- Prepare a full dinner meal that serves 44 people and help to distribute it at the center for the couples evening meal.
- Talk to a local elementary school and see if you can set up a day that the kids pack lunches for the couples at the center.
Thank you for considering Hightower Elementary as your B’nai Mitzvah service project. Please contact Karen Baron for ways you can help kids at Hightower Elementary School.
- Reading to students at Hightower.
- You can also help them out with things you're passionate about such as:
- Working outdoors
- Arts and crafts
- Girls club
- Help plant and/or take care of the school garden.
- Set up and execute an educational workshop on any of the above activities.
- Set up and execute a project or event for the Hightower students, such as an arts and crafts project and a field trip.
- Set up a fundraiser for the school.
- Helping them with their homework at their homework club.
The Hunger Walk
Thank you for considering The Hunger Walk as your B’nai Mitzvah service project. Please contact Julie Mokotoff for ways you can help drive out hunger in Atlanta through the Hunger Walk.
- Get together a team of friends and family and enter the hunger walk as a group through temple Emanu-el in other words sponsoring a running/ walking team.
- Collect donations from friends and family. Have friends and family sponsor your run.
- Volunteer at the day-of-event.
- Make signs and banners for TE walkers/runners to hold during the walk/run.
- Help set up the TE table at the event, check-in walkers/runners and, manage the table until the walk begins.
Mary Hall Freedom House
Thank you for considering Mary Hall Freedom House as your B’nai Mitzvah service project. Please contact Marita Anderson for you can help women to break the cycle of addictions, poverty and homelessness for themselves and for their children in Atlanta through Mary Hall Freedom House.
- The Heavenly Angels Daycare needs help engaging with babies, toddlers and, preschool age children. This could include cuddling with a baby and/or reading a story to a toddler.
- The Heavenly Angels After Care Program needs help with homework, recreational activities, and playing games with children ages 6 - 11.
- The Heavenly Angels Afterschool Program needs help tutoring children and assisting with their homework.
- Set up a fundraiser so the Mary Hall Freedom House can keep their wonderful facility running.
- Start a drive to collect newborn clothes, blankies, diapers, and baby bottles. Then set up a day that you and your friends can pack the items into bags and then donate them to the Mary Hall Freedom House.
*The Fine Print-
Everyone under 16 must have an adult with them at all times while volunteering at the Mary Hall Freedom House. That adult must have a background check before being able to bring their kids to the facility. You can go to any police station to complete a background check. The cost of a background check at the Chamblee Police Station, located at 3518 Broad Street, Chamblee, Ga 30341, is only 5 dollars. In addition, everyone volunteering must take a brief orientation. Finally, the correct volunteering paperwork must be filled out.
And lastly, enjoy your time volunteering! Not only are the babies and children getting something out of your presence, but we hope you get a lot out of it as well!!
The Temple Emanu-El Bin Collection
Thank you for considering doing your mitzvah project for Temple Emanuel Bin Collection. Here are some of the things you can do to help the drives.
- Manage one of the Bin collection drives. There are 6 drives every year.
- Deliver collected items the charity accordingly.
- Sponsor an event to motivate people to donate to the charity drives.
- Expand the drive to your school or other organization, then put the collected items in the Temple bins.
- At your Temple or school set up and advertise a bake sale where instead of cash they pay with items relating to the specified charity to purchase the treats that will later be donated.
Jewish Home Life
Thank you for considering Jewish HomeLife as your choice for your B’nai Mitzvah service project.
Jewish HomeLife has 5 older adult communities located on 3 campuses – The William Breman Jewish Home, The Jewish Tower and Zaban Tower in Buckhead, Berman Commons in Dunwoody and The Cohen Home in Johns Creek. By volunteering, you can bring your unique gifts and talents. Examples include playing board games, leading bingo, making one-on-one visits, challah making and more. Whether you have a few hours a week or one hour a month, there is a volunteer opportunity for you!
Each day, our volunteers bring joy, cheer, diverse interests and life experiences into our network of care – and more importantly – into the lives of our residents, clients, families and patients. Volunteers help alleviate loneliness and isolation for our older adult residents – a REAL mitzvah!