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Among Judaism's life cycle events, Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the one most often celebrated within the OJC community. Families who bring their children to our bima to celebrate this milestone experience a powerful, transformative journey whose impression is far deeper than that left by a single moment of performance.
The road to bar/bat mitzvah begins with the assignment of a date when children are at the end of the fourth grade. A committed volunteer from our Ritual Committee works with care and sensitivity to ensure that the date assigned works best for each family. Most families choose Shabbat morning so that the family celebration is shared with the entire community, but some families, for a variety of reasons, choose a Shabbat afternoon service, a Rosh Hodesh (new month) service on a weekday, or a service in Israel.
The journey to bar/bat mitzvah at the OJC includes a wide variety of experiences that culminate in a child’s shining moment. Children at the OJC from the very youngest age have every opportunity to be a part of a participatory prayer community that welcomes its children's participation. We cherish an educational philosophy that meets every student's learning style and encourages participation according to each student's capabilities; there is no one correct way to celebrate becoming a bar/bat mitzvah. There is rather a correct way for each child.
We are proud of our sixth grade PACT program (Parents and Children Together), facilitated by the rabbis, where parents and children are encouraged to explore the various aspects and meanings behind the bar/bat mitzvah experience. OJC is unique in that the rabbis are personally and deeply involved on an individual basis with the training of each bar/bat mitzvah student; and the entire family is encouraged to become part of the process.
The Shabbat community at OJC embraces and cherishes opportunities to know our children and celebrate with their families. Our ultimate goal is for each child and family to be completely comfortable in the sanctuary and to see the synagogue service as the beginning of a lifetime of meaningful Jewish engagement.