Bar/Bat Mitzvah




The celebration of your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah of is one of the most important events in their lives and yours. It marks a turning point in their relationship to the Jewish community and their commitment to Jewish practice. It recognizes the changes in maturity affecting their ability to accept responsibility for moral-ethical and life decisions in the near and distant future. It is a key rite of passage, and a cause for great celebration.

Your involvement in the entire process sends a vital message to your children. It tells them that this course of study is important to you too, even if your own knowledge is limited. The central message is that your children feel your love, support, and presence while they are on their journey.


Bar/Bat Mitzvah instruction is part of a well rounded Jewish education and, as such, is part of the overall Religious School program.

Instruction will take place in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation. This class begins approximately one year prior to the student’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Your child(ren) will have gained extensive knowledge and will be comfortable with many parts of the service from their Religious School experiences that preceded this preparation year.

Regular attendance at Religious School classes and Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, as well as at Shabbat morning services, is necessary for students’ knowledge, comfort, and acceptance of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Daily study and practice is needed and expected in this preparation year.The amount of time needed for daily study will differ with each student. It is important for parents to monitor and be involved in their child’s work and progress.

Upon beginning preparation of his/her Haftarah, periodic meetings with the Rabbi will be scheduled. Approximately six months before the ceremony they will become weekly. They provide for more intensive guidance and training as well as time for discussions preliminary to writing the D’var Torah.

There will be periodic meetings of the students and parents as a group throughout the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. Parental involvement is imperative for your child(ren’s) support, identity, and assurance of a successful Bar/Bat Mitzvah.


It is expected that all students will learn to:

  • Lead the service, taking the Torah out of the Ark and returning it.
  • Recite the blessings before and after the Torah reading.
  • Read the Maftir (Bar/Bat Mitzvah portion) from the Torah using “trope” (musical accents).
  • Recite the blessings before and after the Haftarah (Prophetic reading)
  • Chant the Haftarah in Hebrew using the “trope” notations.
  • Recite Kiddush for Shabbat morning.
  • Prepare a D’var Torah, a speech reflecting their thoughts on the Torah portion, Haftarah portion, their Jewish life and the significance of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, as well as a summary/introduction to the Torah and Haftarah.

Candidates are encouraged to participate even more fully in the service. This might include reading more extensively from the Torah and leading parts of the morning service (Shacharit) and/or Musaf.

(In the case where a child experiences extreme difficulties learning to read Hebrew, changes in the degree of participation in the service and manner of preparation will be arranged in consultation with the Rabbi and the Religious School Director.)

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A brief description of the committees and their roles follows:


Religious Practices

In conjunction with the Rabbi, determines the schedule and other details pertaining to the religious services and practices at Beth Ami. Encourage and develop higher levels of participation and skill in all matters of religious observance at the synagogue and in the home. Assists the Rabbi in implementing decisions of halacha and liturgy. Function of Religious Practices Committee
Chair Lee Feinstein

Sub Committee: Cemetery Committee
Supervises arrangements for members needs.

Subcommittee: Kitchen Committee
Encourages the use of the synagogue kitchen by and for congregants. Ensures that all users of the committee are familiar with synagogue policies regarding Kashrut, safety, hygiene and security. Seeks to establish a vibrant culinary community and provide rich and varied feasts for onegs, Kiddush luncheons, and other synagogue events.


Youth and Education

Creates and implements new classes and programs that encourage participation in Jewish learning.. Develops the schedules, engages the instructors, produces the publicity, and assumes all responsibility for the creation of new programs. Advises the Board and Staff on matters of program generation and execution.

Subcommittee: Nursery School
Works with the Nursery School director to develop, implement, and support school programs and activities.

Subcommittee: Religious School
Works with the Religious School Director to develop and support Religious School programs and activities

Subcommittee: Youth Activities Committee
Works with Youth Advisors to support youth programs and activities

Subcommittee: Adult Education
Works with Rabbi and staff to develop ongoing study courses, lectures and guest speakers


Welcomes new members to the synagogue, and acquaints them with various aspects of synagogue programs. Encourages unaffiliated Jews to consider joining the synagogue. Seeks out inactive members to renew their interest and participation in synagogue life. Interviews members who have recently left the synagogue, and discusses their comments with the Board. Advises the Board on policies that may impact the attraction and retention of members.

Subcommittee: Welcoming Committee
May supplement the Board as greeters at Shabbat services. May provide a table with information for visitors to our synagogue. Assures that visitors are noticed, introduced, and made to feel at home. Follows up, where possible, with visitors.

Subcommittee: Chavurah
Actively engages congregants (who wish to be included) in existing Chaverot, and creates new Chaverot as members request. Communicates guidelines for choosing a Chavurah. Reviews existing guidelines for membership and programming, and makes suggestions as appropriate.

Subcommittee: Chesed Committee
Supervises the well being synagogue members in times of need and difficulty. May visit the sick, visit the physically and socially challenged, and may assist and comfort in times of bereavement, family illness, or other need.

Budget and Finance

Oversees and reports on the fiscal health of the congregation. The Committee reviews the monthly balance sheets, profit and loss statement and the department detail reports, reviews the draft budget compiled and prepared by Executive Director and makes recommendations to the board. The budget and finance committee also works with the bookkeeper and CBA office staff on maintaining proper accounting procedure.

Capital Campaign
Organizes fundraising for capital improvements and their associated finances.

Fund Raising, Development, and Special Events

Responsible for organizing and coordinating activities to generate revenue for operation and endowment, consistent with the values of the synagogue. Supervises the Gift Shop

Fundraising and Special Events Committee
Plans and organizes special events designed for community building and fundraising.

Subcommittee: Gift Shop
Stocks and supervises the gift shop.

Israel Affairs Committee

The Israel Affairs Committee has a CLEAR mission to:
Communicate with the community regarding Israel-related and Masorti issues,
Learn more about current affairs related to Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Educate the community about Israel, including the Masorti movement,
Act positively to provide a love of the Jewish State and
React in response to political anti-Semitism.

Building and Grounds

Responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of synagogue-owned buildings and grounds, Advises the Board on matters of insurance coverage, renovations, repairs, possible economies in utility usage, and long term capital improvements. Supervises renovations and construction projects.

Subcommittee : Aesthetics and Décor
Supervises the décor of the synagogue.

Subcommittee : Security
Supervises security issues for the synagogue.

Social Action

Develops programs to further the commitment to the entire extended Jewish Community, and to Israel. Organizes social and political action consistent with our Jewish values. Develops positive relations with the general community

Personnel Committee

Establishes policies for employment at CBA: provides leadership in hiring and terminating employees, including Rabbi and Executive Director; establishes vehicles and timetables for annual reviews of all employees; creates and updates employee handbook.

Leadership Development/ Board Operations

Develops and administers training programs for synagogue leadership roles. Supervises Board Trainings for new Board members. Monitors compliance with current By-Laws, and recommends By-Laws changes when appropriate. Functions as the parliamentarian at Board meetings. Acts as the Nominating Committee for elections.

Communications Committee

Supervises the synagogue web page. Makes suggestions for web page changes, and supervises their implementation. Develops, as appropriate, suggestions for on line resources and on line learning. Supervises the Cyber Shul and the Shofar. Assists other committees and organizers in carrying out their publicity for CBA events, both to the Sonoma County Jewish Community, and the General Community.

Subcommittee: Web guru

Library Committee

Oversees the operation of the library. Encourages appropriate use of the library. Supervises the use of library supplies and materials, including computer and on-line sources. Supervises the recruiting and training of volunteer staff. Advises the Board on all issues relating to the library

Friedman Center

Friedman Center Board Chair: Bill Friedman

Guides and Checklists for Organizing Events

To help events or programs run smoothly, the office now has a Program and Event Planning Guide.
CBA Program and Event Planning Guide
CBA Publicity Guidelines
CBA Cleanup Guidelines
CBA Equipment Use Guidelines
CBA set-up form

Guidelines for using the kitchen