Turkish Jewish community celebrates Bar Mitzva Club first-year-end ceremony, 2022
The Turkish Jewish community conducted the Bar Mitzva Club’s first-year-end ceremony at the Neve Shalom Synagogue with the attendance of 42 boys and their families, including rabies and community leaders.
The Bar Mitzvah Club was established by the Turkish Jewish community’s Education Department in 2003. It encompasses a two-year program implemented by 2 rabbies, 1 psychologist, 20 madrihim with Mouvment or Talmud Tora formation between the ages 18-30, 7 madrihim for 2nd year education between the ages 25-50, and 2 secretaries.
In the first year basic Jewish knowledge and education are given by younger madrichim under the supervision of two rabbis and one psychologist. During this time they raise Bar Mitzva candidates’ awareness and prepare them for the second year when they will receive the final education for the Bar Mitzvah Day.
In the first year visits are organised to community charity institutions to teach them “Hesed”, as well as to synagogues and the Jewish Museum. During these visits tehy are tought synagogues’ histories, the meaning of the objects, and the Turkish Jewish history.
On Mitzvah Day candidates are tought the importance of charity and organise visits to Or-Yom, the community’s nursing home. As part of activities of the International Shabbat Project they attend Shabbat prayers and seudas together with their families, participate in Sukkah dinners, thus experiencing Jewish religious rituals and holiday celebrations. Parties are also organised to celebrate Chanuka and Purim holidays, as well as activities to commemorate Yom HaShoah and celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut.
In order to prepare the family members for the Bar Mitzvah Day rabbis also prepare the parents for this important day. The program called Model Tefila is the most important one. According to this program the end of the first year is celebrated with a graduation tefila and seuda with the participation of all candidates, their fathers and their family members. At the end of the tefila, candidates are presented with their Tallit, Tefillin and Sidur, which will wear and read on their Bar Mitzvah Day.
In the second year, the candidates learn to read Hebrew prayers, don Tallid and Tefillin and begin their journey to become conscious and responsible community members.
In addition to the same education program as in the Bar Mitzvah Club, girl candidates participate in special activities for their Bat Mitzvah . At the end of the year, a joint Bat Mitzvah ceremony and ensuing seuda is organized with the participation of all Bat Mitzvas and their families, and with the participation of the Chief Rabbi, Community leaders and rabbis. This education program takes place on Sundays in the form of two-and-a-half hour courses lasting for 30 weeks.
Every year approximately 100 boys and 50 girls at ages 11 register for the Bar&Bat Mitzvah Club, being 95% of the children for this age group. This project also establishes an environment and opportunity for these children coming together, engaging, socializing, and building friendships which would last for many years to come.