The B* Experience Program (BME) at SAJ invites 6th and 7th grade students to explore how they enter young adulthood both in the larger world and especially within the Jewish community. The passage of adolescence is not an easy one for youth or their parents. Leaving childhood, exploring independence, emerging sexuality, the challenge of peer relationships, parents recognizing the passage of time, relationships to Judaism are just some of the challenges of this period. Infused with the wisdom of Judaism, the Cantor and Rabbi offer opportunities to engage with these practical, educational, and spiritual aspects of becoming a B* Mitzvah. A number of social programs are also included to help foster a greater sense of community among the students and parents of each class.
Some components of this program are:
“Bucket List” Project
Many schools ask students to do a “mitzvah Project.” Our version of this called “The Bucket List” in which students spend the year leading up to their b* mitzvah engaging in various activities and projects in three areas that speak to this particular life transition: Independence/Mastery of Skills, Learning, and Responsibility. Each student presents their work to the others and displays their Bucket List poster at their B* mitzvah.
7th Grade Makom Shabbaton with Rabbi Lauren
During the Saturday Makom Shabbaton, Rabbi Lauren facilitates sessions for 7th Graders and their grown-ups focused on key educational concepts for the b’nei mitzvah period. Topics include “Becoming givers: Tzedakah and your B*mitzvah,” “The History and Meaning of B* mitzvah,” “How to Study Torah and Write a D’var Torah,” “Cultivating your personal Mitzvot.”
Experiential Learning for students and adults
Through this year when special celebrations are being planned, we want to ensure that students and families have Jewish experiences that add spiritual meaning and depth to the experience. Programs include “Tallit Making,” “Observing a b* mitzvah,” “Sanctifying Time: A Tour of the Mikveh,” “Singing the Torah: the History of Torah trope.” We also encourage our students to take on new practices, including chanting a line from the Megillah scroll on Purim.
Note on Language: We recently changed our name to “B* mitzvah experience” to reflect the many gender expressions of our children who experience this rite of passage. All ceremonies will be called “B* mitzvah” in our future communications.