Our seventh grade students spend the year sharing the communal experience of celebrating their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The curriculum focuses first on the history and ritual of Bar and Bat Mitzvah and then moves to the “commonplaces of Judaism” – that is, the things that a Jewish adult should be able to speak about. (Prayer, God, Torah, Israel, Holocaust and major Holidays). Additionally, as a group, seventh grade students participate in two tikkun olam (social action) projects each year. Woven into many of the sessions is a mini lesson about one of the prayers they will lead during their Bar or Bat Mitzvah service (for example, when they learn about portrayals of God in the Torah, they will study the God language in Barchu and Shema).
Each week we give those students who recently had their Bar or Bat Mitzvah a chance to share with the group advice or suggestions they have, and to describe their Tikkun Olam project. We then end each session by showering them with sweet (soft) candy to acknowledge their achievement.
By the end of the year, seventh grade students who attend regularly should be able to:
* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year.