Some families may consider B’nei mitzvah ceremonies at other venues, whether in Canada, Israel, or elsewhere. Our clergy will work with any member’s child towards their simchah in whatever location, but will generally not be able to leave the congregation over Shabbat to join your family.
B’nei Mitzvah ceremonies may be held at any time when the Torah is traditionally read. This includes Saturday afternoon, Monday and Thursday morning, and Rosh Chodesh mornings (the new moon, or start of the new Hebrew month). We typically do not hold B’nei Mitzvah on Jewish holidays. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing an “off peak” time. Normal attendance at such a service is typically 10-20 people. There may be fewer honours available in the service, but a larger percentage will be available to your family. “Off peak” ceremonies typically offer a more intimate atmosphere, and include less liturgical content than on a Saturday morning.
If your family’s B’nei Mitzvah ceremony takes place on Shabbat afternoon, it will typically consist of two services: Minchah — the afternoon service which includes the Torah reading; and Ma’ariv/Havdallah — the evening service which includes a candle, wine, and spices. The clergy will work with you on the exact timing and pacing of the services. These two services may be back to back, or you may pause in the middle for refreshments and/or speeches. Since we are a Sabbath-observant facility, some types of preparation for the party may not take place until after sundown, which means that we may extend either the service or light refreshments to allow time for party set-up to be completed after sundown.
If your family’s service is not on Shabbat or a festival, then Shabbat restrictions will not be relevant, but Jewish law may set limitations for the start and end time of the service. Please don’t hesitate to talk to the clergy about what might be right for your family.