After Your Bar Mitzvah

Originally published May 20, 2015

"After your Bar Mitzvah you don't have to go to Religious School anymore."

 I don't remember this happening when I was that age. Maybe it did. Although I was a part of a 10th grade Confirmation class of more than 20 so I am guessing not. This is a huge thing in our congragation.

Yael was one of two Bnai Mitzvahs to attend religious school after their big day. It has been about the same for some time at our synagogue. I thought it was a synagogue thing. Then I thought it was a Conservative Judaism thing. Then I asked Google.

It seems it is not local or just a concern for Conservative Jews. It is in all branches of Judaism and it has been for quite a while. The first article I found quoted earlier warnings from the 1930's and 40's.

A little reading

The Bar Mitzvah Phenomenon by Amy Berenson

More links to come.

    The suggestions:

    Start early - Congregations with Early Childhood programs have fewer drop outs.

    Jewish Friends - Children want to be where their friends are. Given that the girls have no friends that cross over form secular school to religious school, this will be tough.

    A congregational mantra of you will attend - difficult when many of the parents do not attend functions past pre-school.

    Family Education Programs - I am assuming this mean programs that bridge the gap between 3 year olds and 70 year olds.

    Students are active participants in the congregation - CRC a congregation with about 50 Bnai Mitzvot a year requires post Bnai Mitzvot service participation. Almost all of their students stay to the 10th grade.