About the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Pilot Cohort

In 2012-14 the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution will work with Reform congregations to explore ways to revolutionize b’nai mitzvah. As new ideas and models are developed, we will share the successes and challenges faced by these congregations through our website and through conferences. This pilot cohort of 13 synagogues will learn together and share resources and ideas as they experiment with revolutionary approaches to b’nai mitzvah observance and preparation, as well as more effective models for learning Hebrew, kavannah (intentionality) in prayer, and Jewish literacy in general. These congregations will engage in a process of action research and documentation as they implement new initiatives and programs.

More about the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Pilot Cohort

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Why is action research a central component of this project?

Action research is critical because:

  • A change in any aspect of b’nai mitzvah celebration or preparation is the beginning of a change in the congregation’s culture. It is important that all stakeholders understand that the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution is, at this stage, a process of experimenting with and studying new ideas, rather than promoting a particular program.
  • Over the past two decades many innovations in congregational life have gone unnoticed, or at least under-appreciated. Through careful documentation, we hope to share the successes achieved, challenges faced, and insights gained in this project. In this way the wisdom that accumulates in these congregations will have the best chance of being passed along to a wider network of synagogues.
  • This is an opportunity to develop new professional expertise. Rabbis, cantors and educators in the Reform Movement have only a limited number of ongoing opportunities for professional learning; and these opportunities are primarily in the realm of Judaica and spirituality. Learning how to document and analyze the success of innovations, and learning how to write up their findings for their colleagues and the larger public will provide synagogue leaders with a new avenue for professional growth.

What is the timetable for pilot cohort congregations?

The first round of the project will last a little over two years:

  • We began, in the fall of 2012, to research efforts to revolutionize b’nai mitzvah that are taking place across North America.
  • Congregational teams in the pilot cohort congregations came together for a preliminary workshop in the fall of 2012 to identify the experiments they wished to undertake in the next two years and learn how to increase the likelihood that these experiments will succeed.
  • From January 2013 through December 2014, pilot cohort congregations will conduct and document their experiments. A variety of consultants (in areas such as congregational change and action research) will be in regular contact with each team, and available to assist in its work.


The Family Impact Study

Congregations in the Pilot and LA Cohorts have the opportunity to learn from their families about the impact that their experiments will have over the course of three years. To learn more about this project, click here.

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