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The Students, the Parents, the Cantor, the Prayer Review, and the Rabbi

The Cantor

  • Parents will be contacted approximately seven months in advance by Joanne Pass, the B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator, to schedule Torah/Haftarah lessons with the Cantors. The Cantors will meet with each student during the course of his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and supervise each child’s training. 
  • Torah and Haftarah lessons will be given on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with both Cantor Novick and Cantor Rubel. Lessons will last approximately 15 minutes. Appointments should be made before or after the student’s religious school classes or on a day that he/she does not attend religious school.
  • The Cantor will outline the various services that students are required to attend in the months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Parents are expected to join their children for these services, so that the entire family is familiar with the prayers and customs. These include:
  • Friday evening services, including Shabbat Hallelu (7:45 p.m.) and Fourth Friday (6:00 p.m.)
  • 4 Shabbat morning services in the Sanctuary or Brody Chapel (10:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.)
  • 1Simchat Shabbat service (Saturday 9:00 a.m.)
  • (Check the Bulletin or web site, www.tewnj.org, to confirm worship dates and times.)
  • The Senior Cantor will provide the student with the written and recorded Torah and Haftarah portions. It is suggested that these recordings be downloaded onto your computer and audio player, for safekeeping.  These portions can also be recorded onto a cell phone.
  • When more than one Bar/Bat Mitzvah is scheduled in the Sanctuary on the same date, the Haftarah portion will be divided between the B’nai Mitzvah.
  • Each student is expected to study his/her assignments for 15-20 minutes each day. Parents should monitor their children’s home practice to ensure that progress is being made
  • on a weekly basis. The Cantors rely on this weekly home practice in order for there to be adequate progress. The Cantors will contact parents if the student has not been achieving his/her full potential.
  • For services in the Sanctuary and Brody Chapel, the final rehearsal will be held the Tuesday before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date, when not in conflict with a Jewish holiday, beginning promptly at 4:45 p.m. At this time your child will run through the entire service, including reading from the Torah and practicing the d’var Torah. At the rehearsal, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions or tell the Cantor any last minute information regarding the service.  Parents must attend this rehearsal. All materials for the service must be brought to the rehearsal, including the student’s d’var Torah.
  • Students with late summer or early autumn dates (especially those going away for the summer), should have their portion of the service (including Torah and Haftarah readings) mastered by the end of June and use the summer months to review their portions. This is taken into consideration when scheduling appointments.
  • Lessons with the Cantors are designed to help the B’nai Mitzvah feel secure in the knowledge that they have accomplished something meaningful and desirable on a beautiful and memorable occasion in the Jewish life cycle. Parents should not hesitate to call the Cantors if they have any questions or concerns.

The Cantor

The parents will be contacted approximately five months in advance by Joanne Pass, the B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator, to schedule prayer review meetings.  The Coordinator of Youth and Family Engagement will meet with each student during the course of his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and will supervise each child’s prayer review.

All prayer review meetings will be given on weekday afternoons.  Prayer review meetings last approximately 20 minutes.    

The first session of prayer review will consist of an assessment and either a parent or guardian and child should be in attendance. Based on the assessment, the student will be scheduled for up to ten prayer review meetings as needed.

Each student will be provided with the written and audio recorded prayers.  It is suggested that these recordings be downloaded onto a computer and/or another audio player for safe-keeping. The prayers may also be found on the Temple Website: www.tewnj.org/learning/B’nai Mitzvah/B’nai Mitzvah Prayers.

Each student is expected to study his/her assignments for 15 – 20 minutes each day.  Parents are responsible for monitoring their child’s home practice to ensure that progress is being made on a weekly basis.  The prayer teacher relies on this home practice in order to ensure adequate progress.  She will contact the parent if she assesses that the student is not achieving his/her full potential.

A complete review of all of the prayers will be held approximately two weeks prior to the child becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Students with late summer or early autumn dates (especially those who are going away for the summer) should have their prayers mastered by the end of June and use the summer months to review their prayers.  This is taken into consideration when scheduling their lessons.

6th Grade students in anticipation of prayer preparation are encouraged to make several appointments in the Learning Lab even prior to beginning lessons with the Cantors.

The Rabbi

Beginning at least six weeks prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the student will meet regularly with one of our Rabbis. Joanne Pass, the B’nai Mitzvah Coordinator will contact you to arrange appointments. There are several purposes to this meeting:

  • The meetings allow the Rabbi and student to get to know each other on a more personal basis.
  • The Rabbi and student will review and discuss the contents and meaning of the Torah portion and haftarah.
  • The Rabbi will help the student select a topic for a d’var Torah and guide the preparation of the speech.
  • The Rabbi and student will discuss the significance of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  • It is helpful if students read the English translation of the weekly Torah portion before their first meeting with one of the Rabbis.