In 2012-14 the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution worked with Reform congregations to explore ways to revolutionize b’nai mitzvah. As new ideas and models developed, we have shared the successes and challenges faced by these congregations through our website and through conferences. This pilot cohort of 13 synagogues learned together and shared resources and ideas as they experimented 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 engaged in a process of action research and documentation and implemented new initiatives and programs.
More about the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Pilot Cohort
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Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Beachwood, OH
Congregation Har Hashem, Boulder, CO
North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA
Stephen S. Wise Temple, Los Angeles, CA
Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, NJ
Temple Beth El of South Orange County, Aliso Viejo, CA
Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley Hills, MA
Temple Brith Achim, King of Prussia, PA
Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA
Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA
Temple Israel, Columbus, OH
Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains, NJ
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.