This gallery of B’nai Mitzvah Innovations profiles cutting edge approaches to B’nai Mitzvah.

First, begin your exploration of our six areas of experimentation with a button below.

Second, enjoy browsing through each of the snapshots in the collections.

Ritualizing Moments on the Journey

To create a greater sense of comfort in the sanctuary space, to find opportunities to create holy moments, and to frame b’nai mitzvah as one holy moment in a lifelong journey, rather than an isolated one, ritual moments have been added to several steps in the b’nai mitzvah process. These moments include: (a) a cohort blessing on the bima on the Shabbat before bar/bat mitzvah dates are mailed out; (b) a cohort ritual for receiving one’s Torah portion; (c) a personal blessing with the rabbi prior to beginning intensive Torah study with him/her; (d) a ritual before receiving one’s siddur; (e) ritual for receiving one’s tallit immediately prior to the bar/bat mitzvah service; (f) the bar/bat mitzvah service itself, and (g) a b’nai mitzvah-versary, the year after one’s bar/bat mitzvah in which a special honor is given at services on the anniversary of the child’s parsha. This constellation of rituals creates sacred moments for both the individual child and his/her family as well as for each cohort of families travelling on this journey together.

Lessons Learned

Parents, and therefore their children, feel like they’re not equipped to be comfortable on the bima. Families benefit from spending time in sacred moments in that space. These various rituals build a sense of appreciation for the experience of the b’nai mitzvah journey. They are surprised at how special these liminal moments make them feel.

Program Info

Grade levels: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th

Learners: Children (pre-B’nai Mitzvah), Parents

Year Implemented: 2016


  • Family Engagement
  • Innovative Ritual

About Us

Congregation Beth Am

Los Altos Hills, CA

1600 families

Reform Congregation

B’nai Mitzvah each year: 60