Your child is welcome to lead as much of – or as little of – the service as s/he feels comfortable leading. It’s important that this be a positive experience for your child. While children are encouraged to study and prepare for this day, stress and anxiety need not be included.
- Minimally, this would include reading/singing the blessings before and after reading the Torah:
Blessing Before the Torah Reading
|The one offering the blessing begins:
Barchu et Adonai ha-mevorach.The congregation responds:
Baruch Adonai ha-mevorach le-olam va’ed.
The one offering the blessing continues:
[Praise the One to whom our praise is due!
Praised be the One to whom our praise is due, now and forever!
We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe: You have called us to Your service
by giving us the Torah. We praise You, O God, Giver of the Torah.]
(The Reader reads a portion of the Torah)
Blessing After the Torah Reading
|Baruch Ata Adonai,
elohaynu melech ha-olam,
asher natan-lanu Torat-emet
v’chayeh olam natah betochaynu.
Baruch Ata Adonai, notain ha-Torah.
|,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה
אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר נָתַן-לָנוּ תּוֹרַת-אֱמֶת
.וְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם נָטַע בְּתוֹכֵנוּ
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה, נוֹתֵן הַתּוֹרָה
[We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe: You have given us a Torah of truth,
implanting within us eternal life. We praise You, O God, Giver of the Torah.]
In addition to this, many children learn how to read/chant all, or at least part, of the portion from the Torah in Hebrew. If your child doesn’t know Hebrew, s/he is welcome to read it out loud in English after Rabbi Tishkoff reads the Hebrew.
- The Bar/Bat Mitzvah child is also encouraged to write a Drasha, or explanation about:
1) the Torah portion, or
2) what becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel means, or
3) any other topic of interest
- If writing about the Torah portion, the following format is suggested:
a) 3-5 sentences summarizing what’s going on in the portion (and perhaps even what precedes and follows the specific verses being read?)
b) 5-7 more sentences on what all this means such as: What’s interesting about this portion? What questions does it raise? Does the Bat/Bar Mitzvah agree / disagree with the text and why?
c) 2-3 concluding sentences explaining what is learned from this text
d) A few final sentences expressing thanks to those present (parents, siblings, other relatives and guests…)
Maximally, of course, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child is welcome to lead the entire service in Hebrew and/or English.