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The Impact
B'nai Mitzvah Revolution

The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution has had long-reaching impact with synagogues, clergy, parents, and  students. The following are articles connecting the BMR to ongoing issues and positive change.

Students Connecting with Growing B'nai Mitzvah Revolution, Jewish Journal - June 22, 2016
“A revolution doesn’t happen overnight — especially when it involves centuries-old rituals.  But members of the Union for Reform Judaism’s B’nai Mitzvah Revolution have spent the last few years trying to bring relatively quick and drastic change to b’nai mitzvah preparation and the ceremony itself.”

Taking the Torah Home at Kol Tikvah, eJewishPhilanthropy - February 10, 2015
“Our temple participates in the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution and our Rabbi, Jonathan Hanish, is trying to implement new ways to make the b’nai mitzvah experience more meaningful for the child and family. One such way begins on Friday night before the big day. At that time, Rabbi Hanish allows the child to take the Torah that he/she will be reading during the service to their home.“

Transforming our Temple Through the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, eJewishPhilanthropy - February 3, 2015
“Our BMR project at Reform Congregation Kenneth Israel, Mitzvoteinu, asked sixth graders to do a “mitzvah project” for the synagogue, with help from existing synagogue leaders, so that they and their families could contribute to their community in the process of becoming a Jewish adult. The Mitzvoteinu project would not only teach teens about different mitzvot, but also about their synagogue, its leaders, and their impact on the community.”

Questioning the Essence of B’nai Mitzvah, eJewishPhilanthropy - January 27, 2015
“What might a bar mitzvah look like if it could emerge from on-going conversations with each family about what they hope to mark in this ritual? How might we imagine a bat mitzvah that developed from student learning rather than dictated by a set of prayer requirements? Our BMR team, comprised of synagogue professionals and lay leaders, began with the second question, leading us to completely reconceive our middle school curriculum.”

Finding solutions to reducing teen stress, Jewish Journal - December 10, 2014
Adolescence has always been a challenging time of life. School, social obligations and hormones all make it especially hard to navigate. But some Jewish educators and clergy members have become worried that parents and teachers have reached a breaking point of piling on to kids’ lives.

“Most synagogues are ignoring that problem,” said Isa Aron, a professor of Jewish education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles. “The Jewish community is very focused on having teenagers engaged in Judaism in some way, but they’re not really focused on helping kids with what their real problems might be, probably because they don’t see that as part of their mission.”

Revolutionizing B'nai Mitzvah, Jewish Journal - May 14, 2014
“Working hand in hand with this team, our transformation began. We wrestled with the question, “What is a bar or bat mitzvah?” In answering this question, we engaged thoughtful and insightful lay leaders whose children were about to begin the b’nai mitzvah process. In a group that would seemingly want to maintain the status quo, they were receptive to change. They welcomed the ideas of enhanced engagement in both the child’s and family’s Jewish journey.”

Wellesley Temple Looks Past Bar Mitzvah Party Culture to Retain Young Jews, WBUR - Boston's NPR Station - April 28, 2014
“Some 80 percent of children who reach the Jewish rite of passage, bar or bat mitzvah, don’t continue to practice Judaism or even go to synagogue. A cadre of educators in the reform movement hope to stop this attrition, they say, by adding meaning and reducing the fanfare. A temple in Wellesley, Mass., is one of 13 across the country giving it a try.”


More Articles about the B'nai Mitzvah Revolution

Students Connecting with Growing B'nai Mitzvah Revolution, Jewish Journal - June 22, 2016

Taking the Torah Home at Kol Tikvah, eJewishPhilanthropy - February 10, 2015

Transforming our Temple Through the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, eJewishPhilanthropy - February 3, 2015

Questioning the Essence of B’nai Mitzvah, eJewishPhilanthropy - January 27, 2015

Finding solutions to reducing teen stress, Jewish Journal - December 10, 2014

Revolutionizing B'nai Mitzvah, Jewish Journal - May 14, 2014

Wellesley Temple Looks Past Bar Mitzvah Party Culture to Retain Young Jews, WBUR - Boston's NPR Station - April 28, 2014

Temple Looks Past Bar Mitzvah ‘Ice Sculptures’, New England Public Radio, March 14, 2014

Local synagogue joins effort to make bar mitzvah celebrations less flashy, WBEZ - Chicago's NPR Station, December 27, 2013

Reform synagogues work to change the b'nai mitzvah, Sun Sentinel, September 26, 2013

A B'nai Mitzvah Revolution?, Jewish Exponent, September 18, 2013

Revolutionizing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, eJewish Philanthropy, September 12, 2013

Two Local Synagogues Part of B’nai Mitzvah ‘Revolution’, Jewish Exponent, September 4, 2013.

Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith, The New York Times, September 3, 2013.

The 21st century B’nai Mitzvah, The Jewish Journal, March 13, 2013.

Temple seeks ‘revolution’ for b’nei mitzva, New Jersey Jewish News, December 12, 2012.

B'nai Mitzvah: A Revolution, Not a Graduation, The Jewish Week, November 28, 2012.

Reform Movement Calls for "Revolution": Far-reaching New Initiative Aims to Reinvent Congregational B'nai Mitzvah Programs, URJ Press Release, November 27, 2012.

Pilot Congregations to Revolutionize B’nai Mitzvah, Jewish Scene Magazine, November 1, 2012

Lafayette’s Temple Isaiah chosen for ‘revolutionary’ pilot program, JWeekly, September 13, 2012.

Reform Movement Initiates Pilot to Revolutionize B’nai Mitzvah, eJewish Philanthropy, August 24, 2012.

Youth Engagement: Launching the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2012.

Back to School: Reform Movement takes aim at post-b’nai mitzvah dropouts, JWeekly, July 26, 2012.


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