Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basics: A Practical Family Guide to Coming of Age Together

Overview

How to manage the process with grace, joy and good sense.

A practical guide that gives parents and teens the "how-to" information they need to navigate the bar/bat mitzvah process and grow as a family through this experience. For the first time in one book, everyone directly involved offers practical insights into how the process can be made easier and more enjoyable for all. Rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators from the Reform, Conservative ...

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Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basics: A Practical Family Guide to Coming of Age Together

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Overview

How to manage the process with grace, joy and good sense.

A practical guide that gives parents and teens the "how-to" information they need to navigate the bar/bat mitzvah process and grow as a family through this experience. For the first time in one book, everyone directly involved offers practical insights into how the process can be made easier and more enjoyable for all. Rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators from the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, parents, and even teens speak from their own experience.
• What's it all about?
• Preparation for Parent and Child
• Tutoring, stress, expectations, enjoyment, planning for children with special needs
• Negotiating the ceremony and celebration
• Designing a creative service, heightening the spiritual exercise, special issues related to divorced and interfaith families, planning a party that neither breaks the bank nor detracts from the inherent spirituality of the event.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Out of her vast experience as Cantor and educator, Leneman has written an important guide that strengthens and solidifies the family through the wisdom and warmth of Judaism."
Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, California

"Inspires, challenges, comforts and guides parents as the mutli-faceted bar/bat mitzvah process enters their lives."
Dr. Jeffrey Schein, National Education Director, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580231510
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,241,825
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Cantor Helen Leneman's specialty is bar/bat mitzvah education. She has worked as a cantor and a b’nai mitzvah teacher in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and the greater Washington, DC, area. For several years she chaired the B’nai Mitzvah Educators Network of CAJE. The Network has over 300 members in the U.S. and abroad. She has a B.A. from UCLA and an M.A. in Judaic studies from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, and studied cantorial liturgy with cantors Allan Michelson (z"l) and William Sharlin. She is the author of Bar/Bat Mitzvah Education: A Sourcebook. She is an associate member of the American Conference of Cantors, and a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. Cantor Leneman directs an outreach program for unaffiliated families who wish to celebrate their children’s becoming bar or bat mitzvah. She lives with her family in Rockville, Maryland.

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is recognized as one of the most thoughtful Jewish writers and teachers of his generation. He has helped people of all ages find spiritual meaning in both the great and small moments in life.

A noted author whose work has appeared in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and the Congressional Record, Rabbi Salkin is editor of The Modern Men's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions; and author of Being God's Partner: How to Find the Hidden Link Between Spirituality and Your Work, with an introduction by Norman Lear; the bestseller Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah; For Kids—Putting God on Your Guest List: How to Claim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah; and Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships (all Jewish Lights), among other books.

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is available to speak on the following topics:
• Is God on Your Guest List?
• Where Are the Men?
• While You Were Out, God Called
• The Secret War Against Israel (or, Why John Lennon Was Wrong)
• Outside the Red Tent

Rabbi Julie Gordon, MA, director of education at Adat Shalom in Bethesda, Maryland, is author of the popular day school prayerbook B'chol L’vavcha: A Shabbat and Festival Companion. She has over 25 years of professional experience in Jewish education, synagogue life, and communal service.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Foreword xv
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Preface xix
Rabbi Julie Gordon
Introduction xxi
Cantor Helen Leneman

Section I: What's Bar/Bat Mitzvah All About? 1
1 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basic Elements: Start to Finish 3
Cantor Helen Leneman
2 What Parents Should Know Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony 15
Susie Tatarka
3 "Passing" the Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah: Setting Clear and Realistic Expectations for Everyone 21
Cantor Marshall Portnoy
4 A Guide for the Perplexed Parent: How to Ask the Right Questions about Preparation 33
Cantor Helen Leneman
5 The Parents' Rite of Passage 43
Rabbi Susan B. Stone
6 Ritual Magic and Family Drama: Finding New Meaning in an Old Story 47
Dr. Judith Davis
7 To a Religiously Skeptical Jewish Parent 57
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin

Section II: The Family’s Perspective 65
8 Tales from the Home Front: Lessons from Family Experiences 67
Cantor Helen Leneman
9 Reflections of a Mother 77
Missy Cohen Lavintman
10 Reflections of a Father 83
Neal Gendler
11 Post B’nai Mitzvah Thoughts: Teens Reflect 89
Norman Lavintman, Maya Jaffe, Jennifer Greenberg, Miriam White
12 The Bat Mitzvah Dress: An Intergenerational Story 97
Dr. Nechama Liss-Levinson
13 Journey of One Interfaith Family 103
Dr. Donna R. Hart
14 What to Say to Your Child on the Bimah 109
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Section III: Essentials and Options for the Service and the Celebration 119
15 Designing a Creative Service 121
Cantor Helen Leneman
16 Celebrating and Negotiating: Avoiding a Post-Divorce Battle on the Bimah 129
Sally Weber
17 Making the Theme Meaningful 139
Rabbi Aaron Bergman
18 Do You Need a Party Planner? 145
Cantor Helen Leneman
19 Coming of Age: The Significance of Bar/Bat Mitzvah for Interfaith Families 151
Joan C. Hawxhurst
20 Celebrating Bar/Bat Mitzvah Successfully as an Interfaith Family 155
Lena Romanoff
21 Special Needs Children Speak for Themselves 161
Appendix A: On the Learning Path—Selected Resources for Parents 171
Dr. Barbara Wachs z"l Cantor Helen Leneman
Appendix B: Shabbat Morning Service Outline 181
Cantor Marshall Portnoy
Appendix C: Helpful Hints for Parents of Special Needs Children 83
Beverly Weaver
Appendix D: Selected Bibliography: Recommended Sources for English Readings 187
Cantor Helen Leneman
Glossary 189
About the Contributors 193

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