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Your Experience with the Clergy


Preparing for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah can feel overwhelming, but at Washington Hebrew Congregation our clergy will give your child the individual attention he or she needs to feel ready.

In the final two months of your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, s/he will have eight meetings with one of our rabbis/cantors. The first four of the eight meetings will be 30 minute one-on-one appointments with the rabbi/cantor during which the Torah, Haftarah, and all prayers will be polished. As a part of these sessions, the rabbi/cantor will also work with your child on understanding the Torah portion so that s/he can write his or her d’var Torah (words of Torah). Time will also be taken in the first of these meetings to interview your child, seeking insight about your child's interests and your family, your child’s full Hebrew name (child’s name bat/ben father’s name v’mother’s name), as well as their experiences with Washington Hebrew Congregation.  

The final four meetings are hour-long appointments in the chapel or sanctuary during which the rabbi/cantor will explain the service and rehearse it with your child. If your child has a partner, these final four sessions will be with him/her. Not only will your child be practicing the Hebrew prayers, Torah portion, and Haftarah portion, but s/he will also rehearse the English prayers that s/he will be leading during the service, the d’var Torah, and the prayer s/he will read during the Friday evening service. These sessions will focus on getting your child comfortable with the space, the microphones, and speaking slowly and loudly. You will be encouraged to join us for these rehearsals.  

The final rehearsal prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will not only be with your child's partner, but also with both sets of parents. We ask you to be present so that you too can become comfortable in the space, and also so that you can practice your parts, i.e. Torah blessings, removing the Torah from the Ark, returning the Torah to the Ark, passing the Torah, knowing when and where to stand and walk.

Washington Hebrew Congregation's clergy treasures the bonds that are created during this process with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and his or her family. We look forward to working with your child and your family as you approach this wonderful life cycle event!