02. Core Qualifications

We are excited to welcome your family as part of the B’nei Mitzvah Chavurah/Cohort! At Kehillat Beth Israel there are a few basic requirements that must be fulfilled by the B’nei Mitzvah family in order to be eligible for a B’nei Mitzvah celebration. All of these requirements are meant to prepare your child for their simchah, as well as demonstrate what it means to be a Jewish adult.

  1. Only children of Kehillat Beth Israel congregants, who are halachically Jewish, may have a B’nei Mitzvah ceremony at Kehillat Beth Israel. The clergy are happy to discuss your family’s particular situation, or what might be involved in a conversion process.
  2. The Family of B’nei Mitzvah celebrants must be members in good standing for at least two years prior to the date of the simchah.
  3. B’nei Mitzvah students must participate in a program of Jewish education approved by the Senior Rabbi, such as Ottawa Talmud Torah or the Ottawa Jewish Community School. 
  4. B’nei Mitzvah students are required to attend Kehillat Beth Israel services at least 18 times during the 24 months prior to the B’nei Mitzvah. The objective of this is to create a familiarity and comfort with the shul and a true connection with the congregation before the special day.
  5. B’nei Mitzvah students are required to take on a social action “mitzvah” project. This project involves hands-on work or fundraising and may be focused on the Jewish community or the larger community. Our Rabbi
  6. will work with students to choose and schedule projects. 
  7. B’nei Mitzvah students and their parents are expected to attend one of the B’nei Info Sessions for their year group. Aside from the essential social and peer-group connections they afford families, these annual sessions ensure your family has (a) a Bar/Bat/B’nei Mitzvah date; (b) information about the start of their child’s upcoming year of studies; and (c) the latest information and requirements as the big day nears. Register for the appropriate sessions for your family at www.kehillatbethisrael.com/bm-sessions.
  8. B’nei Mitzvah families are expected to become active participants of the B’nei Mitzvah Family Experience, which is our chavurah (cohort, group of friends). In addition to being present and supporting each other along our respective B’nei Mitzvah journeys and on the big day itself, the “BMFamEx” offers social, educational, social-action, and ritual activities throughout the (approx.) 18-months leading up to your family’s simchah. In particular, our region of USY hosts a B’nei Mitzvah cohort Shabbaton, which all students in our program should attend.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Cantor Green (your point person for almost all things B’nei Mitzvah-related), Rena Garshowitz (Executive Director – rena@kehillatbethisrael.com) or Rabbi Eytan Kenter (rabbi@kehillatbethisrael.com). A full contact information list can be found in #14 of this FAQ.