Today is May 26, 2020 /
This is an important time for you and your child(ren) as they enter adulthood in our Jewish tradition. The rabbi and the director of education will partner with you and your child in the process of understanding what is required of them as a b’nai mitzvah. In parent meetings we will explore options and suggestions available to you within the restrictions of Jewish law, all while keeping the b’nai mitzvah student in mind.
We at the Hebrew School are dedicated to enriching your child’s experience. Since your child first enrolled here, there has not been a focus just on this day in particular. Rather, the focus has been on ways we live as a Jewish people, including understanding the practice of our traditions, the meaning of our holidays and festivals, the history of our people, and of course reading and understanding the prayers recited. Attending school at Kol Ha’Emek has never been about only becoming a b’nai mitzvah. This has been stressed with your child, and we hope that this philosophy can continue forward with your support.
Students must attend a minimum of six regular shabbat services at the Roth Center before becoming a b’nai mitzvah. This ensures that they feel comfortable with the service long before they are asked to lead one. Parents must facilitate this attendance for their children. We will know students have fulfilled the obligation by the number of candles on their paper menorot—they know to ask Rabbi or whoever led the service for a paper candle at the end of the service.
Families must be members in good standing within the Kol Ha’Emek community throughout the full b’nai mitzvah year, including paying tuition for Hebrew school. After their simcha, students may switch to Jew Crew for remainder of the year with no additional cost.
Students must be enrolled in the school for a minimum of three years, including the year leading up to the b’nai mitzvah. For families who recently moved to the Upper Valley or who joined the synagogue less than three years prior to the b’nai mitzvah, two of these years may be after the b’nai mitzvah (by enrolling in Jew Crew). Once students become b’nai mitzvah, we expect them to continue out the school year at Kol Ha’Emek with their class. The following school year, they may become madrechim (assistant teachers) and join Jew Crew, our youth group for teens. Your encouragement in their enrollment in these programs after the b’nai mitzvah will support the value of continued Jewish learning.
You are encouraged throughout this process to contact our offices with questions and concerns. It will be very helpful for you to attend subsequent parent meetings, as new information will be introduced each time. We also cannot stress enough the importance of bringing your family to other b’nai mitzvah celebrations at Kol Ha’Emek, so that your child becomes familiar with the service. B’nai mitzvah celebrations are open events where young adults are welcomed into the community. There is no invitation required to attend a service. There are several remaining this year, and you are encouraged to check the congregational calendar so that you will have those dates for planning.
We very much look forward to working with you during this special life cycle event.
Kol Ha’Emek’s school is supported in part by a grant from Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.