Becoming BMitzvah at Mishkan

BMitzvah (noun): A gender-neutral term for bar, bat, or b’nai mitzvah. It literally means “child of the commandment,” but we like to think of it as “a person who is now responsible for their own Jewish life.” 

At Mishkan Chicago, we’ve crafted a unique BMitzvah program that speaks to our values of justice seeking, community building, and joyful inspiration. This program is made possible by The Cohen Kadima Program, Mishkan’s dynamic education program for 6th graders, 7th graders, and post-BMitzvah teens and their families.

Through our Kehilat BMitzvah cohorts, we offer deep-dive learning sessions for our BMitzvah families to explore their family origin stories, explore their relationship to God and prayer, learn Jewish texts and Torah, and consider what “being a Jewish adult” means to them. .

Before we say the Shema in a traditional morning prayer service, we remind ourselves what being Jewish is all about: love, action, knowing where you come from, and standing confidently as Jew with a sense of ownership as part of a larger community. At Mishkan, BMitzvah is an incredible opportunity not just for a Jewish teen, but for their entire family to build toward this vision.

If you are interested in your child becoming BMitzvah with Mishkan, please email Eli.

Bernice and Buddy Cohen were visionary philanthropists with a deep commitment to Jewish community and education. They are remembered for their attributes of love, strength and generosity, which continue to live on through the actions of their many children and grandchildren.

BMitzvah Timeline

  • Fall of Fourth Grade: Mishkan sends out notice to families “on our radar,” inviting them to select possible dates for their child’s BMitzvah. All families must be Builders in good standing in order to participate in date selection.
  • Winter of Fourth Grade: Families fill out a date selection form, letting us know their preferred date and format. Mishkan coordinates with other Northside synagogues and day schools to assign dates.
  • Spring of Fourth Grade: Family Day at Mishkan, a program for BMitzvah students to receive their assigned date and learn more about the excitement ahead! Deposit due to Mishkan.

Spring of Fifth Grade – Family Day: The Big Reveal (a program for students tp receive their assigned Torah portion)

  • 12 months before BMitzvah date: Family meets with BMitzvah Team for an initial meeting to discuss the learning process, timeline and set learning goals. 
  • 8-12 months before BMitzvah: Students begin to meet with a private tutor to learn their Torah portion and prayers.
  • 6th Grade Fundamentals 2023-24: In this new program run by Rabbi Ari Moffic, 6th graders will build confidence in foundational Jewish “hard skills.”
  • For 6th Graders in Jewish Day school, we encourage your children to participate in our calendar of MishTeens offerings.
  • Kehillat BMitzvah (KBM) begins in the fall of 7th grade for all families with a BMitzvah that year. KBM meets monthly for 10 sessions, including meetings on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. KBM sessions cover everything from questions like “Where did your family come from? How did you reach this moment?” to studying the students’ parshiyot (assigned Torah portions), exploring our relationship to prayer, and building community. Participation in KBM is mandatory for all families celebrating a BMitzvah with Mishkan.
  • Throughout 7th grade: Students meet with tutors to prepare for their ritual participation in the service; tzedek projects are ongoing this year (and beyond!)
  • 6 and 3 months before BMitzvah: Families meet with BMitzvah Team to deepen their learning and check in about the process
  • 12 weeks before BMitzvah: Students begin meeting with their “rabbi chevruta” to write a d’var Torah