Fifth grade students choose from seven social action activities available at the congregation, including working in the community garden, cooking meals for the caring community committee, and volunteering at a senior citizens’ center. After an introductory session about what it means to volunteer, the students and their parents support the social action activities at least three times during the year and create a presentation (film, writing, speech, or any other medium they choose) to explain how they believe the activity relates to becoming a Jewish adult. After participating in Mitzvoteinu, students begin to plan their own mitzvah project to become a bar or bat mitzvah. Their educators guide them to think about what they learned in the Mitzvoteinu program and to apply it to their own mitzvah project.
The introduction of this new program was initially met with resistance because some congregants felt that it was too much requirement without enough choice. Keneseth Israel has adapted some of its plans to incorporate this feedback.
Grade levels: 5
Learners: Children (pre-B’nai Mitzvah), Parents, Community Members
Families have the option of enrolling in this program in addition to the regular educational offerings.
Year Implemented: 2013
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
Elkins Park, PA
B’nai Mitzvah each year: 55