“Five years is the age for the study of scripture, ten for the study of Mishnah, thirteen for becoming subject to commandments, fifteen for the study of Talmud... Fifty for ability to give counsel, sixty for mature age…” (Pirke Avot 5:24)
The act of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – often translated as “son or daughter of the commandment(s)” raises a Jewish child to the status of adult in the religious community. At Westminster Synagogue we offer a unique B'nei Mitzvah programme for our families. Our aim is to create knowledgeable young Jewish adults who, through the process of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah, will become active members of the community, and who have a love of Judaism that will guide them throughout their lives. We also offer the oppertunity for adults who did not have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the past to work towards one as an adult - please view our Women's Bat Mitzvah pages or contact Nick Young.
Our community believes that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is a choice, not a requirement, for young people and their families. Our young people have found their Bar and Bat Mitzvah services vital and meaningful to their spiritual growth; and families and friends have found the services beautiful and moving. The decision to observe a Bar or Bat Mitzvah rests with the child and his or her family. If chosen, the experience must be seen as an integral part of the child's larger Jewish education.
Our community also believes that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah journey is of profound significance. As such, we have created the Westminster B’nei Mitzvah Programme which extends over two years and is structured as a series of weekly sessions for students aged 11-13. In addition to classes, we also regularly invite families to join us for Friday evening services and Chavurah (community) Shabbat meals when they can, thus building a strong sense of family involvement in the preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The programme also includes two residential weekends and out-of-synagogue activities, including annual trips abroad to places of Jewish historical interest. As some of our students attend boarding school, distance learning can be arranged for those living away from London during term time.
Our objective is to build lasting bonds among our B’nei Mitzvah students; we place great value on their ability to support and enhance one another’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah journeys and we believe that these bonds will continue to enhance their lives as they become Jewish adults.