Shaare Emeth Religious School’s 6th & 7th Grade Program
B’Mitzvah Academy (BMA)
Our 6th and 7th graders are at a critical moment of transition, taking on the responsibility of becoming b’mitzvah.* Developmentally, they are questioning who they are and their place in the world. Our program strives to ask relevant Jewish question and engage them in dialogue as they work towards this meaningful milestone.
Our BMA experience provides a cohort-based program for our middle school teen learners, culminating with the B’Mitzvah service. With Rabbi Levine and Cantor Warner at the helm, BMA is an integrated, two-year program for 6th and 7th Grades as they prepare to become b’mitzvah at Shaare Emeth. With our incredible faculty and fabulous clergy teaching these students, our young teen learners will work on their Hebrew learning, study Jewish values, share this special time with friends, and more!
*We are proud to share that we have adopted the term B’Mitzvah into our language describing the process and programming for this important lifecycle event. This is a gender-inclusive term that allows us to include and affirm the full spectrum of our community in the way we talk about our students. Every learner will have the chance as a part of their preparations to choose the language for their ceremony that works best for them (i.e. bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, b’mitzvah, b’nei mitzvah, and more).
Year One: 6th Grade
In 6th Grade, all students attend 2x a week, every week.
- Sunday Morning Religious School (9–11 a.m.)
- BMA MIDWEEK (4:15–6 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday)
6th Graders immerse themselves in deep, consistent learning time focused on sharpening Hebrew skills and getting up to speed on the prayers our learners need to know for the B’Mitzvah service. On Sunday mornings, they participate in a curriculum that provides age-appropriate, multi-faceted learning about the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective.
This is usually the first significant introduction our learners have to the events of the Holocaust, and we want them to be grounded in the facts, stories, and meaning of this tragic part of our people’s history. On both days, they have opportunities to build relationships with peers and start engaging with our clergy as the begin their formal b’mitzvah learning at BMA.
Year Two: 7th Grade
Students attend BMA once a week during MIDWEEK (4:15–6 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday).
7th Graders dive into their preparations for b’mitzvah during their weekly sessions. Each meeting consists of small group, intensive Hebrew learning focused on preparing for their ceremony. These groups have the opportunity to learn from our amazing Hebrew faculty and experience Cantor Seth’s mentorship and personal support.
The Judaics learning happens alongside their 6th Grade peers, where they have a chance to focus on big questions about the meaning of b’mitzvah, expectations of teen life, and exploring what Jewish values, ideas, and stories might mean to them at this critical time of transition and growth.
6th and 7th Grade BMA Family Education Programs
Throughout the school year, our parents/guardians are invited into this process of b’mitzvah by participating in a series of curated, high-impact family learning experiences. Becoming a teen is hard for preteens and for their parents, especially today, with current realities heightening the transition to this new stage of life. To support families when they most need support and while they are engaged in Jewish life, leading up to the b’mitzvah, we bring our class cohort together and invite our adolescents and their parents into conversation with one another. We are excited to be partners of Moving Traditions, using their nationally recognized curriculum and approach to preteen Jewish family education. These experiences seek to inspire connection to Jewish community by centering on human development and the parent-child relationship. All family programs are a required part of our BMA experience.
What happens after my child’s b’mitzvah?
We help you take the next steps on your journey in Part II of BMA! Our BMA II experience includes weekly programming, with opportunities for our participants to learn about the wider Shaare Emeth community and explore ways they can stay connected. These sessions include speakers, service projects, social and emotional learning, and memorable discussions with friends. We hope that by the end of BMA II our participants feel prepared to continue into 8th grade in our religious school and find new ways of connecting with Jewish life.