What your child needs to know:
Many of the prayers of the service are learned in STaRS classes before entering the B’nei Mitzvah Training Program. Before entering the program (usually mid-sixth grade) your child’s ability to read Hebrew and her/his knowledge of specific prayers will be assessed. The prayers we expect your child to know before entering the program include: Chatzi Kaddish, Bar’chu, Sh’ma, v’ahavta, Adonai S’fatai, Avot V’imahot, Weekday (short) Kiddush and Motzi, Oseh Shalom, and Mi Chamocha. You can help to assure
your child’s knowledge of these prayers by attending Friday evening and
Saturday morning services and by ensuring regular religious school attendance.
Students who need additional support to master the prayers listed above, or who need further study of Hebrew, will be asked to pursue tutoring (in addition to their religious school studies) before entering the BMTP. These tutoring sessions, which are in excess of the 24 provided by the tuition of the BMTP, are arranged by the program coordinator, at a rate of $45 per session which is charged to the family.
B’nei Mitzvah Family Class on choosing verses:
Several times a year one of the Rabbis holds a workshop for B’nei
Mitzvah Families (in small groups) to help them choose the verses their child
will chant from the parashah (weekly Torah portion).
Families are required to acquire a copy of The Torah: A Modern Commentary, by W.G. Plaut, revised edition, copyright 2005, 2006 by URJ Press. This Chumash (first five books of the Hebrew Bible in English and Hebrew with additional readings) is the edition we use in our services at Congregation Shomrei Torah. It is an important resource to have at home. Now is the time for you, together with your child, to read the parashah for your child’s assigned date. Try first to figure out the basic story or situation. Then discuss what seems interesting and relevant to your child’s world view among those passages. You can spend a lifetime studying Torah, but it takes no particular skill to start. Feel free to contact either Rabbi with any questions or concerns you may have.
After studying the parashah you are ready to choose 12-16 consecutive verses your child will learn to chant. These verses will also be the theme for the D’var
Torah . The 12-16 verses your child chooses will be divided into four sections, each called an aliyah (plural aliyot). During the Torah reading, each aliyah
is preceded and followed by special blessings.