A bar or bat mitzvah should be a defining and joyful moment in the development of one’s Jewish identity. We use the newish term B’Mitzvah to be gender inclusive.
For the growing population of families with mixed racial, ethnic, religious, and other backgrounds, the B’Mitzvah connecting with other Jews of Color at this critical time in identity formation provides a valuable opportunity to celebrate and honor the multiple elements of a child’s identity.
This spring, we are launching the first B’Mitzvah Initiative for young Jews of Color. Over the course of four months, children from across the United States will study in a learning cohort with Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll and Lior Ben-Hur (see bios in FAQ) on Zoom, preparing for a ceremony that will take place in conjunction with Camp Be’chol Lashon in the summer.
The program will be offered to all students—those who are not enrolled in Jewish learning, as well as those participating in their local synagogues.
First ever cohort begins virtually March 12th, 2022. Rolling applications.
12 to 14 year olds of all races, genders, and ways of being Jewish are welcome to apply.
Am I eligible to participate in the JOC B’Mitzvah Cohort?
We invite all Jews ages 12-14 of all races, genders, and levels of Jewish education to apply to participate in this cohort.
What if I already have plans to celebrate my B’Mitzvah at my local synagogue?
JOC B’Mitzvah is designed to be both a stand alone opportunity to celebrate your B’Mitzvah and/or a supplemental experience to your other B’Mitzvah plans. You are welcome to participate if you have already celebrated your B’Mitzvah with your home congregation, if you are currently in the process of studying for your B’Mitzvah or if you have no plans of celebrating or studying outside of the cohort.
What will I learn?
Our learning will focus on three key areas:
Torah and prayer: Together we will unpack lessons from Torah and the words of our prayerbooks. Each participant will learn to chant a few lines of Torah and help participate in leading a Shabbat service.
Identity: Participants will discuss their relationships to Judaism, and how their many intersecting identities (race, gender, etc.) impact their Jewish experiences.
Global Jewish music: Our cohort will explore the rich diversity of global Jewish music. This music not only enhances our own experiences of Judaism but also helps us understand how diverse and vibrant the Jewish world is.
How is the program structured?
Our cohort will meet virtually on Sundays from March through June. The program will culminate with a collective B’Mitzvah Shabbat service and celebration at Camp Be’chol Lashon. There will also be a virtual alternative for those who cannot join us in person.
Who leads JOC B’Mitzvah?
Our program will be led by Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll and global Jewish musician Lior Ben-Hur.
Rabbi Isaama is a Reform Rabbi joining us from New Haven, Connecticut. She has served as a Rabbi and Jewish educator in a wide variety of Reform and pluralistic Jewish settings, most recently serving as the former Senior Jewish Educator at Yale Hillel. Guided by her own experiences as a JOC and her professional training Rabbi Isaama has been an impactful educator of JOC and advocate around JOC issues
Lior Ben-Hur is a performing artist, composer, and award-winning educator born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel.
Since moving to the Bay Area in 2004, Lior has been working in music education, teaching and presenting engaging programs for children and adults. With a deep passion for creating new, enhanced, innovative music curricula, Lior is dedicated to using music as a tool to connect people to their faith and bring communities closer together. He has a broad span of experience in both religious and secular environments and worked professionally as a touring artist, bandleader, formal and informal music teacher, theatre score composer, and music director.
Lior is constantly performing with his San Francisco-based band, Sol Tevél, and has released three studio albums. His first album, World Light, is a collection of faith-based songs that aims to shed new light and contemporary interpretation on old Jewish texts, ideals, and mysticism. His latest album, So I Wander, is an eclectic Reggae album released in 2017 which debuted at #14 on Billboard charts for Top Reggae Album.
Participation costs $1,000. Additionally, participants who wish to participate in the in-person celebration will have additional travel and lodging costs. If the cost is prohibitive, please let us know as scholarships may be available.
I am not 12-14 but would love to learn more about other Be’chol Lashon programs I may be eligible to participate in. Where do I go?
Celebrate your milestone and make a gift with meaning. With your Bar/Bat Mitzvah comes the responsibility and excitement of being recognized as an adult in the community. You can start your adult life with tzedakah (charity), beginning a wonderful life-long commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and making the world a better place.
How It Works
1. Contact us to express interest in doing a Mitzvah Project. We will help you choose a worthy beneficiary and set up a campaign page on our website.
2. Pledge to donate some (or all!) of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts to your campaign.
3. Invite family members, friends, and community members to donate to your campaign in honor of your simcha.
Support Our Work
Help us build a more inclusive Jewish community with a tax-deductible donation. With your support, we can continue to raise awareness about the diversity of Jewish identity and experience, and work toward a more racially-just society.