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Guests and relatives who attend Secular Humanistic Cultural B Mitzvah events are regularly amazed at what they experience:
“More meaningful than any b’nai mitzvah I’ve ever been to.”
“Something relevant and relatable in every moment of the service.”
“I wish I’d known about this option for my own children!”
We offer a personalized planning and presentation process in which each student drives his/her research questions and the final ceremony itself, coached by a knowledgeable rabbi or mentor. Students may be in a secular humanistic Jewish community in the US or Canada or be an online participant with a mentor and possibly an online peer group. Students commit to projects of their choice and are proud of their final results because they are so invested in them.
For Humanistic Jews, the Cultural B Mitzvah (“B Mitzvah” is gender-neutral, non-binary term for “Bar Mitzvah” and/or “Bat Mitzvah”) marks the start not of adulthood, but the acknowledgment of adolescence. It is a coming of age. A Cultural B Mitzvah signifies a young person’s desire to become more responsible for his or her own decisions and actions, and to identify with the many previous generations of the Jewish people who have done so.
The program is designed for families who want a cultural, rather than a religious coming-of-age ceremony. Humanistic Judaism has been offering personalized, flexible, and creative educational experiences for our youth for more than fifty years. This program is ideal for those who do not live near a secular or humanistic Jewish community, and will provide long-distance support for those seeking a meaningful and cultural B Mitzvah experience for their child.
Cultural B Mitzvahs allow our students to:
Our Cultural B Mitzvah students emerge from the process with strong critical-thinking skills, laying the groundwork for intellectual inquiry for the rest of their lives. It can provide these young adults with a deep connection to their heritage, and their families with a deeply moving, original, unforgettable coming-of-age ceremony.
Through this preparation no one will tell the student what to believe, only “this is what many modern Jews now believe.” Humanistic Judaism never requires absolute adherence as the price of admission. In fact, we encourage people to think rationally about Jewish beliefs and practices, to gather new facts, to question, and to be open to developing their own perspectives over the course of their lives.
For more information about existing communities that offer full-service Cultural B Mitzvah programs contact one of our local affiliates from this list.
Or, if you do not live in proximity to one of the congregations listed at the link above, find out about our Cultural B Mitzvah program. If you would like to hear from a family who used the program, please click here to listen to a podcast dedicated to their family’s experience.
For further questions, please contact SHJ Rabbi Miriam Jerris.