The Program

At Congregation Netivot Shalom, b’nai Mitzvah students participate in “Amitim” (colleagues, friends).   Amitim provides a community where students and families share a special learning and growing experience together.  

We learn from the Talmud that it is better to study in a group than alone: we are more challenged and engaged in Torah when we study together.  

Amitim is about so much more than the ceremony. It is about making friends, studying together, and experiencing the bat/bar-mitzvah year as both the end of Jewish childhood and the beginning of Jewish adulthood.  

Attendance for the full year of the program is mandatory, regardless bar/bat mitzvah date.

Amitim Year Components:

  • Amitim Tuesday Classes with the Amitim Teachers  ---

These classes, the core of the formal program, include instruction on the skills to lead Shabbat service, how to write a drash, and how to chant from the Torah.
Classes are Tuesday, 4:30pm-6:30pm and run January-June of 6th Grade, and September-December of 7th Grade.

Tuesday Class Schedule
4:30-4:45: Snack and social
4:45-5:05: Hanging out with Rabbi Creditor
5:05-5:15:  Announcements and personal goal setting for the day
5:00-6:30: Rotating learning stations

What are rotating learning stations?:
In an effort to accommodate students with a variety of different backgrounds and needs, we have implemented a blended learning environment through rotating learning stations.

1. Group Session: Students spend time in group learning with a teacher facilitating a structured activity.

2. Independent work: Students complete reading and written assignments pertaining to their Torah portions and/or synagogue skills. This can be anything from reading through their drash and taking notes 

3. Focused listening: Students use mp3 players to practice and learn different parts of the service and Torah/Haftarah trope.  

  • Tzedek Sundays (Social Action)

  • This component, cosponsored with our sister shul Congregation Beth El, combines study and action, inviting families to go in-depth and experience the full process of helping others.  We begin by studying Jewish values for social action and researching important issues.  These programs are for our 6th and 7th graders, and take place on Sundays throughout the school year.  A detailed schedule will be distributed.

  • Private Tutoring for Trope and Synagogue skills   
    This is a vital part of bat/bar-mitzvah preparation and the Amitim experience.  
Most students prepare at least one aliyah to chant from the Torah, lead the Torah service, and give a drash. It is highly encouraged that they also chant additional aliyot and/or Haftarah.  A list of approved tutor is available here.

  • Amitim Family Retreat
Parents and staff work together to create two incredible weekend / Shabbat experiences for the Amitim community. One retreat (Fall of 7th Grade, before the date of the first Bat/Bar Mitzvah) helps connect students and families while experiencing a communal Shabbat in a beautiful and spiritual setting away from the shul. The second retreat (after the date of the last Bat/Bat Mitzvah) is for students alone.  This retreat allows participants to reflect on their year and Jewish journey and have a fun Shabbat with their friends.  These programs are planned and coordinated with parent volunteers.  

Curriculum Overview

Tefillah (Prayer)

January-May – we focus on community and skill building, learning to lead the Torah Service, learning Torah trope and beginning to explore how to craft a drash.

September-December – we explore Jewish Identity and experience spiritual/intellectual ritual objects (laying tefillin and wearing a tallit).  Students also select areas of focus for their own explorations.

Trope (Chanting Torah and Haftarah)

     The students learn the skill of chanting Torah and optionally, haftarah.  They work in pairs and also using  mp3 players to listen and recognize each symbol's melody and visual appearance. As they become more familiar with trope, they apply their knowledge to the section of the bat/bar-mitzvah Torah portion they are preparing to read for their bat/bar-mitzvah.   

Torah and D’var Torah/Drash class

     The students learn the skills of writing a D’var Torah, explore resources to help them review, teach and present the content in their Torah portion, and learn from each other to develop the actual content of their drash. Draft versions of their drash are presented to their peers and teachers for feedback and review.