Mitzvah Projects.  The Torah put to practice.

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Mitzvah Projects

Actions of social justice are bound in our tradition, and it is incumbent upon each of us to work toward the betterment of our own existence as well as the lives of future generations.

A key component of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process is the Mitzvah Project. This program is designed to instill in our students a responsibility to fix and improve the world around us. The project enables the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student to go beyond simply reading about the values and commandments inscribed in the Torah and put them into practice. 

At Beth Am, students can choose one of two paths for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah project -- a monthly mitzvah project, or a year-long mitzvah project.

Monthly Mitzvah Project

For students who choose the monthly mitzvah project, the rabbi will select a different mitzvah each month and provide different ways to express that mitzvah. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah chooses one way to express the mitzvah for each project and completes it by the next monthly Tafrit TNT family education class. The advantages of this option are twofold -- (1) it exposes students to a variety of mitzvoth, and (2) this program provides the following structured format for the student:

Program #1: Synagogue

Program #2: Honor Your Father and Mother "Kibud et Av V'Em"

Program #3: JFS - Jewish Family Service

Program #4: Hesed Shel Emet/Honoring the Dead and Comforting Mourners

Program #5: Planting a Tree "Netiat Etz"

Program #6: The Four Mitzvot of Purim

Year-Long Mitzvah Project

As an alternative to the monthly mitzvah project, a student may instead complete a single mitzvah project over the course of the year. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah selects and designs the project and submits it to Rabbi Earne for approval. Rabbi Earne will assess the project according to the following requirements and criteria:

  1. The project must require a minimum of 30 hours for completion, and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah must maintain a timelog of hours under the supervision of his/her parents.
     
  2. The Bar/Bat mitzvah accepts full responsibility for any project set-up or clean-up on the Synagogue property.
     
  3. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah must notify the Synagogue at least two (2) weeks in advance anytime he/she plans to use the synagogue property.
     
  4. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah can only use Synagogue property during times when it is open to the public.
     
  5. Any request for publicity assistance from Beth Am must be submitted to the Beth Am office at least one (1) month before the requested publication date.
     
  6. Requests for Beth Am to issue publicity announcements about the mitzvah project must provide the following details:
    • Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s name 
    • The name of the benefitting organization
    • What is being done to support the organization
    • What assistance/support is being asked of people 
    • One sentence explaining why the organization was selected
    • Optional: a website address that people can visit for more information about the charity
       
  7. Mitzvah projects that encourage people to donate money instead of objects are permitted but strongly discouraged. We do not want any congregants who may be facing challenging economic circumstances to be overwhelmed with repeated requests for money. Furthermore, we do not want a situation in which a person who contributes to one student’s mitzvah project chooses, for any reason, not to contribute to another student’s project, resulting in hurt feelings. We ask all B’nai Mitzvah students to be sensitive to this topic.
     
  8. The mitzvah project is to be completed before the day of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.