Congregation Solel, seeking to engage students in projects that reflect their interests and questions and to make the project a central part of the b’nai mitzvah, developed a three-pronged approach to their mitzvah project program. Sixth-grade families participate in several family programs in which they study their Torah portions, identify the values reflected in them, and delve into how they can live out those values in their home, within the congregational community, and in the broader world. Families explore tikkun olam experiences and build relationships with each other while doing hands-on projects, and students are given a Mitzvah Project coach who provides guidance throughout the process. The process ends with a reflection opportunity, as students create visual presentations about their projects, which are showcased outside of the sanctuary before their service. This allows others to learn about the meaningful work of the younger members of the congregation.
Sixth grade is a perfect time for focusing on the mitzvah project because at this stage, students are able to understand and analyze the meaning of their Torah portions and are engaged in thinking about the b’nai mitzvah process.
Grade levels: 6
Learners: Children (pre-B’nai Mitzvah), Parents
Everyone in the target audience is required to participate in the program.
Year Implemented: 2015
Highland Park, IL
B’nai Mitzvah each year: 35