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October 7, 2015 | 24th Tishrei 5776
Adult Learning


  1. Jan 2005 Digest 2005-11

                Last year one of our associate rabbis taught a class on Shabbat services and the prayer book. It was a huge success. Started off as a semester class and extended to a full year. We're going to try to bring it back again next fall.

    1200 families

  2. Jan 2005 Digest 2005-11

                We have used a number of methods to teach congregants about worship, aimed at different segments of the congregation. Some are on-going; others occur sporadically. Here are the principal examples:


    • Our Worship Committee spent about eight sessions learning from the senior rabbi about worship issues; we covered topics such as liturgy, music, choreography, architecture; the rabbi's view was that if the Worship Committee was to be his partner in making worship decisions, its members needed to be knowledgeable; the Worship Committee now begins its meetings with a d'var t'filah, a short presentation by a committee member about our liturgy;
    • Each bar/bat mitzvah family attends a "retreat" a year or so before the child's simcha date; one of the sessions at this retreat teaches the parents about the structure and meaning of the Jewish worship service (about 45 minutes in length);
    • Periodically, the rabbis or cantor will lead short (15 minutes) instructional sets on liturgy or music before Shabbat services; these sessions usually continue for four to six weeks;
    • Also periodically, our rabbis and congregants have led classes for congregants separate from services to discuss liturgy;
    • At a monthly alternative Shabbat service led by congregants, for a number of months, we asked congregants to present a d'var t'filah instead of a d'var Torah; and
    • Learners' services are also held occasionally; the learning occurs as part of the worship experience.


    I'm certain I've forgotten some items, but perhaps one of these ideas might be helpful to your congregations.


    2,600+ units
  3. March 2007 Digest 036

                I organize and teach much of our adult Hebrew/prayer and liturgy program (which now spans six levels of year long classes). Anyone who is in level 2 or above is eligible, by choice, to participate in a Shabbat morning service that publicly marks their commitment to study. When we began this six or seven years ago, I  named it a "B'nei Torah" as opposed to an adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Done in a group, it is more akin to Confirmation, as what the adults are doing is affirming their commitment (or recommitment) to our faith and to study.

                We discuss each year the fact that they are each indeed already a bar or bat mitzvah by age. This participation is just a public way of pausing to celebrate their accomplishments to date and their commitment to continue.

                So, we still have the public marking of achievement, adding a bit of education about the meaning of bar/bat mitzvah.

  4. March 2007 Digest 036

                My wife and I had what could be termed "Adult B'nei Mitzvah" in August 2003. My wife was raised in a Conservative shul and never had her bas mitzvah commemorated in any way. And when I was 13, I was Catholic. So, we decided (after observing a woman and her daughter-in-law) have a joint ceremony to have one of our own. We learned to leyn Torah from our now-emeritus cantor...Our rabbi does not call it a bar or bas mitzvah for reasons already mentioned on this list. My certificate called me "ba'al torah" and my wife's "ba'alat torah" (I think that's the right feminine version).


    ~550 families

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