Our subject this year is ‘Circles of Belonging’. During the year, the children and Rabbi met once a week for learning and active experiences about themselves, their community and Am Israel. For each circle, they added relevant Jewish symbols and ideas, and ways to practice our responsibility as adults.
- The Negev – Know your habitat.
- Tel Aviv and Jaffa – Old and new, Zionism and building the country.
- Holon – Being different, tolerance and Tikkun Olam by the ‘Dialog in the Dark’ experience, meeting with a class from the Masorti program of B’nai Mitzvah to youth with disabilities.
- Eilat – Swimming with the dolphins, the underwater observatory, Kibbutz Ktura.
- Jerusalem – Confronting your fears – Challenging trip.
- Jerusalem – The Kotel (Western Wall).
This year’s celebration:
This year, they had eight celebrating teenagers – three Bat Mitzvah girls and five Bar Mitzvah boys.
They ended the year with a wonderful weekend of ceremonies and events, together with family and friends.
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations in Jerusalem: On Thursday, they invited the children’s family and guests along with staff members from Neve Hanna to the KOTEL. We entered the children to the egalitarian plaza -“Rechavat Israel” like you escorts a king with the drums, the shofar, singing and dancing. They daven together Shacharit, led by the children. The Rabbi conducted a TORAH reading service while Bar Mitzvah boys and girls went up to the Torah for the Aliyot. It was exciting and moving…the children were fully prepared, and you could see how proud the family was!
The second part of the day was in a really nice hotel on their wedding venue. The children performed with a special show—a song combination of east and west: The first song is a modern version of MODA ANI from the morning service. The children added their blessing, which they are thankful for. The second song is a feminist song which the words teach you to follow your dreams and be faithful to your own wishes and ideology. The third song is a pop song which we changed the lyrics to a relevant one, singing about being an adult, responsible and mature.
One of the highlights in the celebrations was the traditional HINA service. It’s a Moroccan service originally celebrated for the new couple before the wedding. The service is an event of symbolic wishes for good health, success, prosperity and happiness. It involves traditional cloths, special sweets, Moroccan cookies and a full table organized with allot of presents.
Every year, the B’nai Mitzvah boys and girls appreciate Neve Hanna’s efforts to them by making a special present. This year, the children decided to make a clay presentation based on a Mishnah of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers).