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There are many different ways for a young person to mark this life transition. More than fifty years ago, when Rabbi Sherwin Wine founded Secular Humanistic Judaism, he developed a program for students to study the life of a Jewish and/or Humanist role models and share their research during the ceremony. Often a Jewish language reading is included as part of the presentation.
Another way for young people to mark this rite of passage is to read from the Torah. Secular Humanistic Jews see the Torah as an important part of the literary heritage of the Jewish people, rather than a divinely-revealed document. Students can choose to read a Torah portion (not necessarily the prescribed portion of the week) and then discuss and reflect upon the meanings of the portion and how it may be applicable in today’s world.
Still others undertake a research / interview project and then present the results. The creativity of our students is impressive, including multimedia or performance to express what they have learned.
Typically a community service or social justice component is part of the program.
The goal is for young people to demonstrate that they are independent thinkers with the ability to consider their own future priorities. Our students and parents find the humanistic approach to B Mitzvah to be one of their most fulfilling life experiences.
B Mitzvah celebrations are often conducted by a rabbi or an ordained ceremonial leader (madrikh/a).
Please contact SHJ Rabbi Miriam Jerris for assistance with your life cycle needs, or to help you find an officiant.