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There are many different ways for a young person to mark this life transition. More than fifty years ago, when Rabbi Sherwin Wine founded Secular Humanistic Judaism, he developed a program for the student to study the life of a Humanist or Jewish role model and share his or her research during the ceremony. Often a Hebrew reading is included as part of the presentation.
In some of our affiliated communities, another way for the young person to mark this rite of passage is to read from the Torah. The student can choose a Torah portion (not necessarily the prescribed portion of the week) and read it, along with a discussion of why the portion is meaningful and/or applicable in today’s world.
Still others undertake a research / interview project and then present the results. The creativity of our students is impressive, many using multimedia to explain their research.
Typically a community service or social justice component is part of the program.
The goal is for these young people to demonstrate themselves to their community as independent thinkers with the ability to consider their own future priorities. Our students and parents find the humanistic approach to B Mitzvah to be one of the most life-changing and fulfilling life moments.
B Mitzvah celebrations may, but need not, be conducted by a rabbi or an ordained ceremonial leader (madrikh/a). Please contact SHJ Rabbi Miriam Jerris for assistance with your life cycle needs, or to help you find an officiant.