Starting in 5th grade at Bet Sefer, our students spend a significant amount of time learning the prayers that they will lead for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony. By the time the students have completed 6th grade they are able to lead both the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service as well as the Saturday morning Torah and Musaf services. This practice serves two functions: the obvious one, preparation for their ceremonies, and the more important one, prayer literacy that will remain with them their entire lives. This literacy ensures that as teens and adults they will always feel like they belong to any Jewish community they attend. They will have the skills needed to feel like an insider and to continue their Jewish learning.
For the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, students prepare a Haftarah and Torah portion with private tutors, learning both tropes and learning how to apply those melodies to the particular parasha to be read on their ceremony date. In addition, working with Rabbi Bloom, students research and write a d'var Torah which they deliver to the congregation on this special day.