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B Mitzvah

A Kol Hadash B Mitzvah (gender-inclusive term for “Bar Mitzvah” and/or “Bat Mitzvah”) is for families who want a personalized and meaningful Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. 

6 Ways we do Bar and Bat Mitzvahs Differently 

1. Individualized (one at a time): The B Mitzvah is the only reason for the service. Every B Mitzvah service is devoted to only one student (unless families choose to have siblings celebrate together). And our Rabbi works one-on-one with each student for several sessions to research and prepare their presentation.

2. Humanistic: Our B Mitzvah ceremonies are culturally Jewish and focus on the human experience and the natural world rather than God. They are perfect for families who identify as Culturally Jewish, Just Jewish, Jew-ish, Jewish and . . . , Half-Jewish, Interfaith, Jews by Choice, Multicultural, Not Religious, Secular, Humanistic, Atheist, and/or Agnostic.

3. Customized: Rather than reading the assigned Torah or Haftorah portion of the week, students choose their own Hebrew reading based on what they find inspirational or meaningful. Their focus can be on a Torah or other Hebrew text and commentary, or they can speak on a topic, issue or person from the Jewish experience. Community service projects are chosen to relate directly to the Mitzvah presentation. Families co-create the B Mitzvah service with Rabbi Chalom from an array of options for readings and music. 

4. Inclusive: All family members of B Mitzvah students can participate fully in our ceremonies. Our services are fully welcoming and inclusive of modern families in all their diversity. English readings and Hebrew song transliteration enable attendees of all cultural and religious backgrounds to participate equally and meaningfully.

5. Reasonable Time Commitment: Our B Mitzvah preparation fits into the busy lives of today’s middle-schoolers and their families. Youth Learning is once a week on Sunday mornings, including our B Mitzvah Prep class. Students learn Hebrew efficiently and effectively through one-on-one tutoring sessions scheduled with each family.

6. Memorable: Because the process is so personalized, the services are so moving, and the student feels so empowered, our B Mitzvah experience becomes a meaningful milestone in the lives of our students and their families.

We Wanted Our Kids to Have a Choice

by Marla Davishoff


In September and January, we have B Mitzvah FAQ sessions with parents to talk over our unique B Mitzvah program. Please check our calendar for current dates and to register. 

You may also schedule a one-on-one information session in-person or by Zoom with Rabbi Chalom, our Youth Education Director, or our B Mitzvah Coordinator.

Contact our B Mitzvah Coordinator, Leah Sosewitz with questions at

JUF article featuring our B Mitzvah program

B Mitzvah Program Guide

B Mitzvah Curriculum

Hebrew Learning

B Mitzvah Fees


The Humanistic Jewish Approach to B Mitzvahs

by Rabbi Adam Chalom


Sample B Mitzvah Speeches

Jewish Humor:  One day, the special golden phone on the desk of the Orthodox Israeli Chief Rabbi rings for the first time. Amazed, the Chief Rabbi picks up the phone and asks in a halting voice, “Who is there?”  “This is God speaking. I have two very important messages to give you. Would you like the good news or the bad news first?”  Read entire speech

Rehoboam & Politics: By looking at the passage I read, what can we tell about who wrote it, and when, and why? It must have been written some time after the events took place; it couldn’t have been written before they happened, of course, and it doesn’t sound like it was written like a newspaper article right afterwards. It sounds much more like a later interpretation…Read entire speech.

Leviticus: An Eye for an Eye: In Humanistic Bar Mitzvahs, we are able to choose our Hebrew reading. When it was time to choose my passage, I was considering multiple options. Passages from Genesis, other parts of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but “lex talonis,” or “the law of an eye for an eye,” caught MY eye. Read entire speech.

Jacob + Esau: One of the interesting details of the story is how Jacob sends his family to meet Esau –first he sends his servants…. Then he sends Leah and her children, and then Rachel and Joseph…He is putting who he likes the best in the back, so they will be the safest…If you had been in front, you wouldn’t have liked it, but in the story they don’t say anything. In Humanistic Judaism, it is important to say what you believe, even if others disagree with you. You have to stand up for what you think. Read entire speech.

Bar/Bat/B Mitzvah FAQ

1. Why do you call it B Mitzvah, instead of Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah?
Consistent with our Humanistic values of gender equality, B Mitzvah is our gender-inclusive terminology for what is conventionally called Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. Each student/family is welcome to call their own celebration B Mitzvah, Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah as they prefer.

2. Can my child have a B Mitzvah with Kol Hadash if my family is not a member?
No. Enrollment in our Youth Learning and B Mitzvah programs is reserved for Kol Hadash member families. We do have a unique and innovative membership model that makes it affordable to become a member with self-selected annual contributions.

3. Can my child have a B Mitzvah without attending Sunday school?
Having a Kol Hadash B Mitzvah is reserved for students enrolled in our  Sunday School. We view preparing for a B Mitzvah as part of a broader Jewish education. While most of our students start Sunday School in younger grades, we welcome students joining our Youth Learning programs in 4th or 5th grades. Students who start their Jewish education in 6th grade or higher are welcome to celebrate their B Mitzvah in 8th grade or later.

4. What is the time commitment to have a B Mitzvah?
In addition to regular Sunday School attendance, in the second half of 5th Grade students meet our Hebrew tutor in private sessions to learn to read Hebrew. In 6th grade, they attend our B Mitzvah Prep class 30 minutes before Sunday School as well as regular Sunday School sessions. They also meet separately with Rabbi Chalom to research and prepare their Mitzvah presentations, and with our Hebrew tutor to practice their Hebrew reading.  

5. Can a child with special needs  have a B Mitzvah?
Absolutely! Some of the most meaningful B Mitzvahs have been those of our special needs students. All Kol Hadash B Mitzvahs are personal to the students in many ways. Read this Jewish Telegraphic Agency article about one of our past celebrations.

6. What does it cost to have a B Mitzvah?
See our Youth Education Fees.

Schedule a personal B Mitzvah info session (in person, by phone call, or via Zoom) with our B Mitzvah coordinator, Leah Sosewitz at, our Sunday school Director, Ilana Schaffer at, or Rabbi Adam Chalom at, 847-383-5184.

Useful Youth Learning Information
Sunday School FAQ                                      Family and Youth Events Calendar             Curriculum and Teachers
Adult-Tot Programs                                      Family Holiday Celebrations                          Sunday School Registration
Sunday School Tryout and Tuition       B Mitzvah Guide                                                     
Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784