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Mazal tov on your child becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah! 

This is an incredibly special time in the life of your family and we are honored to celebrate with you.  In these unusual circumstances, Temple Shalom is proud to provide personal support and care for every family in crafting a meaningful Bar and Bat Mitzvah experience.

Current Options for Becoming B’nei Mitzvah

Zoom Mitzvah

Families who choose Zoom work closely with the clergy and Temple staff to prepare a space in their home where a delivered Torah will be read.  Temple Shalom has made available a videographer who comes to your home (with a mask) to set up lighting and video/sound equipment and connect it to the Zoom call.  We will provide a tech team who will manage the Zoom appearance and your family and friends will be able to watch the event via live stream on our website.

Outside Service with Clergy Present and Zoom Call

We are now officially in Phase 3 of COVID-19 recovery in Massachusetts and we are pleased to share that, beginning in August, our families will have the option to celebrate b’nei mitzvah outside with a member of the clergy with 10 people or fewer present. Services can be planned for outside space at private homes or on the ground of Temple Shalom where we are erecting a large tent. We can also set up a Zoom call for non-local participants and push the event to our live stream where friends and family can watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Zoom and streaming work?

Temple Shalom provides you with a Zoom link for your service. This link should be shared only with those who are active participants in the service. At least one member of the Temple Shalom staff will be part of the Zoom call to help manage the microphones and cameras and to ensure that the video feed is smooth and enjoyable for your guests to watch.

How does my extended family participate in the Zoom?

Service participants (who are not in-person) will log into the private Zoom call with a link provided by Temple Shalom. We have compiled some best practices and tips for Zoom participants in our Zoom B'nei Mitzvah Guide.

How will our friends and family attend the service?

The service will be streamed live on our website for your guests to enjoy! The live stream recording is also available for viewing and sharing following the ceremony.

Can the clergy be present with our family?

Beginning in August, our families will have the option to celebrate b’nei mitzvah with a member of the clergy with 10 people or fewer present. Services can be planned for outside space at private homes or on the grounds of Temple Shalom.

Do I need to hire a videographer?

Temple Shalom has a videographer who can come to your home (with a mask on) to set up lighting and video/sound equipment and connect you to the Zoom call.

Will there be a rehearsal?

Yes! There will be at least three rehearsals before the service including a final dress rehearsal with all service participants.

Who is on our production team?

Rest assured you will have a LOT of support. Your zoom mitzvah team members include two clergy members, a tech support staff person, and a videographer.

Can we use a real Torah?

Yes! We deliver the Torah to you and make sure you have everything you need to safely and meaningfully house the Torah in your home.

Is a remote experience as meaningful as in person?

Take a look at the reflections from past Zoom Mitzvah families (below) to get a sense of their experiences. But, to quote one family, "The day was just as emotionally moving and extraordinary as it would have been otherwise. I cried through most of it and was just as proud of our son!"

Are there changes to tutoring schedule?


Can I change my date?

If you prefer to reschedule for a future date, you can discuss this with the clergy directly. We will do our best to work with you to create a special experience on a date that works for everyone.

Is the Temple available for events? Can I get my deposit back?

If you have reserved a space at the Temple for a kiddush or celebration, your date and time have been held. We will work with you as the date approaches to navigate the COVID-19 gathering standards and help you create the best gathering possible. If you have paid a deposit or rental fee and you would like to apply that to a different Temple charge or request a refund, please contact Ellie Goldman anytime.

Reflections from Our Past Zoom Mitzvah Families

What was most surprising to you about the Zoom Mitzvah experience?

The day was just as emotionally moving and extraordinary as it would have been otherwise. I cried through most of it and was just as proud of our son!

We may have all been in separate locations (across the globe!) but it felt like we were all very present in the moment together. 

I didn't have stage fright doing a zoom bar mitzvah because I didn't have to see everyone.  I didn't have to wear uncomfortable shoes, actually I didn't wear any shoes. I felt like it was more special because it was at home and I liked that I was able to pick one of my favorites for dinner that night.  

What were you most concerned about leading up to the day?

My biggest concern was my son's ability to maintain composure if he had trouble with the Torah given the Rabbi isn’t there to help. I tried to take it one moment at a time, knowing that worrying won’t help. 

I was super worried about dropping the Torah in front of the livestream audience! We had a strategy to have a hand on it the whole time it was open and then put it on a large table in another room when we were done.

After having two bar mitzvahs with Temple Shalom, I was a little worried this wouldn't feel as special.  I am happy to report our son’s bar mitzvah felt equally as special as the first two just in different ways. Rabbi Abrasley and Cantor Shafritz continued to officiate a personal and meaningful service.

What moment sticks out as particularly special for you?

I didn’t expect we would be given a Torah to have in our house. Having my son read from a Torah in my house was an amazing experience that had never crossed my mind.

It is very special to go back and watch the live stream, which captures the emotions of family members during the zoom mitzvah, something that you could never do with a traditional ceremony.

We were able to add meaning to the bar mitzvah that never would have happened if it were in the temple.  Having the ceremony in our home allowed us to tie in other meaningful representations of family that filled the gap of not having people in the room with us.

What advice and thoughts do you have for other families who might be having a Zoom mitzvah?

As a parent you have to adjust your expectations.  The loss of physical communal elements was significant.  You can't all be in the same room for the joyous occasion but the tradition continues and we adapt and make lemonade out of lemons.

My advice is for families to watch other zoom mitzvahs for ideas. There is a lot of flexibility to create the most meaning and happiness for your family. 

There were a lot of ways we brought in new traditions and meaning to a ritual that has been an important one for jewish families.  We embraced thinking creatively while keeping our values at the core.  We couldn't have done this without Ellie, Erin, Rabbi Abrasley, and Cantor Shafritz.  Their attention to detail and flexibility to help us create a meaningful ceremony means the world to our family.

Bat Mitzvah in the Time of Corona by Liz and Keith Newstadt

In their heartwarming blog post, Zoom Mitzvah parents Liz and Keith Newstadt recount their daughter Miranda's special day and the beauty they found in an imperfect situation: 

"A Bat Mitzvah in the time of Coronavirus doesn’t have the Temple Shalom sanctuary, or blocks of hotel rooms, or function halls. But the art comes from the constraints of the form. Miranda created something beautiful within her constraints that was truly and uniquely her own, both in her Dvar Torah and in her Bat Mitzvah, nurtured by our temple, our clergy, and our community."

Read the Newstadt's full blog post here!

Zoom Mitzvah Videos and Resources

Check out these video clips from our recent Zoom Mitzvahs!

B'nei Mitzvah Readings

Additional Resources

  • Our Remote B'Nei Mitzvah Guide includes step-by-step guidance and additional tips  for caring for the Torah, preparing your home for the service, welcoming honorees to participate in the service, and planning out the day-of events.

Please contact Erin Borras, our Assistant to the Clergy, or Cantor Leah Shafritz, with any questions or concerns.

Fri, January 22 2021 9 Sh'vat 5781