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Bar/Bat/B'nei Mitzvah Planning Guidelines and Logistics

Updated January, 2023

Mazel Tov! We are so excited to celebrate your family’s upcoming bar/bat/b’nei Mitzvah with you. The following guidelines and logistics will help make your experience go smoothly and allow you to enjoy your service to the fullest.

Logistics for Friday Evening and Saturday Morning Services
Friday Evening Service
  • You will be invited to participate in the Friday evening service the night before your Saturday morning service. Please arrive by 6:15pm to get settled before the service begins. 

  • During an in-person service, your family will be invited to light the candles on the Bima and the Cantor will lead the blessing. Then the b’nei mitzvah student will lead kiddush. 

  • We will invite your family to join us in the blessing over the challah at the very end of the service after the closing song.
Sponsoring Friday Evening Oneg

It is customary for the B’nei Mitzvah family to sponsor the Oneg following the Friday evening service. The B’nei Mitzvah family is asked to provide Oneg treats (fruit, cheese, crackers, pastries/cookies) for up to 50 people on Friday night regardless of how many congregants are expected/attend. If the family wishes, the Temple will take care of providing the Oneg for a fee of $200. Temple provides challah and grape juice for the bimah, as well as food, napkins and plates for the Oneg. Temple also provides tables, chairs, coffee & tea (includes cups, tea, coffee, sweetener and powdered creamer). 

If you agree to sponsor the Oneg, Rhonda, our business manager, will invoice you in the amount of $200 to cover the cost. If this presents a hardship, please contact Rhonda at  If we do not hear from you about your Oneg plans by 30 days before your/your child's service, Rhonda will send you an invoice. She can always void the invoice if you decide to provide the Oneg yourself/with friends.

Email Program to Your Guests

Please email to the guests who will be joining you for the service on Zoom:

1) Your child’s bar/bat/b’nei mitzvah program

Betsy will contact you to request your content for the program. We will print copies of your child’s program for you and your in-person guests. 

The following is a list of ritual items you will need for the service:

1. B'nei Mitzvah student's binder

2. Student's Tallit

3. Your child’s Torah portion and the Torah blessings

4. Haftarah portion and the Haftarah blessings

5. Your child’s d’rash (speech)

6. Carnations to throw at the student at the end of the service when we sing Siman Tov (optional).

In-Person Services

The following reflects our current Covid protocols. If the pandemic requires that we reinstate stricter protocols, we will inform you immediately. Please keep in mind that the situation could change, and we can’t provide any guarantees for your service. 

As of January 2023, the Sanctuary will be under repair. All services will take place in Albers Chapel.

Kiddush Luncheons

1) There is no restriction on the number of guests who can attend kiddush luncheons.

2) Guests are no longer required to be seated while eating/drinking.

Parents’ Blessing (Speech)

Our service opens with a song and then some words from the student’s parents. We would like for your speech to include an initial welcome to everyone in person and on the Zoom, and then for you to give a special blessing to your child. This is not intended to be a description of who your child is. Rather, it should say something to them about why this milestone is important to you, and what you hope it means to your child. It is usually about 200 words per parent. You can read a sample of a parent’s blessing here.


After the parents’ blessing is shared, the parents will present a tallit to the student. You can order one online, contact the Women of Temple Sinai to view their collection, or use a family tallit.

Family and Friend Participation

One of the highest honors in the service is reciting the Torah blessings. The full Torah portion your child will read will be broken into smaller pieces, called aliyot. Before and after each of these, a blessing will be said. The number of aliyot each student chants is determined by your child’s study with the Cantor. There must be at least one Jewish person in every group of people reciting a Torah blessing and all must be 13 or over. You can find the text of the blessing here and hear a recording for the Blessing Before the Torah here or the Blessing After the Torah here.

Blessing for grandparents and parents to lead:

L’dor Vador: Passing Torah From Generation to Generation May all the gifts hidden inside you find their way into the world,
May all the kindness of your thoughts be expressed in you deeds,
May all your learning lead to wisdom, May all your efforts lead to success, May all the love in your heart be returned to you, May God bless your body with health and your soul with joy, May God watch over you night and day and protect you from harm,
May all your prayers be answered.

As we have received Torah from those who came before us, so do we pass Torah to you today.

Please discuss other honors with your officiating Rabbi.

Ark Opening/Closing

Two people are needed to open the ark and two people to close the ark. They can be the same people or different people.

Torah Passing

The Torah passing can be either be passed physically or verbally. Generally, we pass it physically in person, and verbally, if not all generations are present in person. Our service includes specific language for each generation to read. Jewish grandparents and all parents participate in the Torah passing.


The program will include a list of those participating, thank you messages from the bar/bat/b’nei mitzvah, and a 100-word welcome that may include a brief introduction of your child. It can be descriptive of who they are and the kinds of things they do, like, and care about. You can see a sample of a program on the b’nei mitzvah page of our website. Your child’s program will be printed (please indicate to Betsy,, the number of copies needed) and placed in Albers Chapel for your service. Please forward the program pdf to those family members who will be joining on Zoom.

Kiddush Cup

Your child’s personalized Kiddush cup will be filled with juice and placed in Albers Chapel before your Saturday service.


There will be three rehearsals, one with each of our rabbis. If you don’t already have rehearsals scheduled, Betsy ( will be in touch to schedule them. We ask that parents attend the final rehearsal. Parents are welcome but not required at the first two rehearsals.

Service Zoom Link

We will email a Zoom link for your service if you expect to have guests who cannot attend in person. In general, we have found that sending Zoom links close to the time of the gathering works best for enabling people to find it.


Younger siblings or younger cousins will be asked to help lead the Motzi.


Can we take photos or video of the service? Can we have a slideshow?

Photography and videography are freely allowed Albers Chapel from 9:00am until 10:15am on the morning of the Saturday service. During the service, photographers and videographers are welcome but are restricted to the back half of the Chapel. The cameras must be stationary, either hand-held or on a tripod and cannot move during the service. There must be no clicks or flashes. Only the designated photographer is allowed, and s/he cannot have a role in the service. Photographers and videographers must be as inconspicuous as possible. Please speak with the clergy if you have questions. Temple Sinai does NOT provide video recordings of services. You are welcome to have a slideshow during your kiddush luncheon at temple. We typically recommend starting the slideshow in Stern Hall once guests have served themselves from the buffet and are seated.

If you have any questions, please contact Betsy Bigelow-Teller at, or one of the clergy. We look forward to a joyful and meaningful simcha with you. 


Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin
Cantor Ilene Keys
Rabbi Julie Bressler
Rabbi Daniel Freedman

Mon, February 6 2023 15 Sh'vat 5783