Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guest Information

What to Expect at an Am Yisrael Bar/Bat Mitzvah

We’re delighted that you will be joining us to celebrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah of a family member or friend.  Since many people who attend Bnai Mitzvah  have different backgrounds, we are providing this information so that you won’t be surprised by our customs.  We want you to feel comfortable at Am Yisrael. 

We are a Conservative congregation and therefore our practices may differ from Reform, Reconstructionist, Traditional or Orthodox customs.

  • All those who identify as male, regardless of age or religious background are required to wear a head covering. We provide kippot (skullcaps).
  • On Shabbat mornings, Jews who identify as male over Bar Mitzvah age (13) are required to wear a tallit, (prayer shawl).  Those who identify as female may cover their heads and/or wear a tallit as they wish. We provide tallitot if you do not have one.
  • The Talmud mentions that in Palestine it was customary to complete the reading of the Torah in three years rather than one (B. Meg. 29b; Maimonides, Hil Tefilah 13:1; Tigay). The use of a triennial cycle has been revived in many Conservative congregations, including Am Yisrael.
  • All guests are asked to follow the instructions given by the ushers. Specifically, there are times when it is not appropriate to enter the sanctuary.  Please wait quietly in the foyer until the ushers let you know that it is permissible to enter.
  • Am Yisrael is a scent-reduced facility. As we have congregants with allergies and sensitivities, please limit your use of perfume, essential oils, cologne, and scented body products while in the building.
  • Smoking is prohibited on synagogue premises.
  • No food, drink, or gum chewing in the sanctuary.
  • Writing is a violation of the Sabbath.  Please do not write or text while in our building.
  • Please respect the spirit of Shabbat and the sanctity of the service by minimizing conversation.
  • Cameras, pagers, cell phones and other electronic devices should not be used on the premises on Shabbat.  The taking of photos is not allowed in our building on Shabbat.
  • Please do not enter or leave the sanctuary when the Ark is open, during the Amidah or Haftorah, the discussion session or Rabbi’s sermon.
  • Gender neutral restrooms are available in our school building.  Ushers can direct you.
  • Guns are not allowed on our premises.
  • Numerous security measures are in place at all times.  Some are visible, some are not. Local police patrol our facilities frequently.

To the parents of our young children, may we suggest…

  • Relax!  God put the wiggle in children.  Don’t feel you have to suppress it in our sanctuary.
  • Sit toward the front where it is easier for your little ones to see and hear what is happening on the bimah.  They tire of seeing the backs of other’s heads.
  • Quietly explain our rituals and sing or clap when appropriate.  Children learn liturgical behavior by copying you.
  • If you need to leave services with your child, do so, but please come back. Respect the instructions from our ushers about the appropriate time to enter the sanctuary, however.
  • Remember that the way we welcome children in synagogue directly affects the way they respond to synagogue, to God, to one another. Let them know they are welcome in this house of worship.

To the members and guests of our congregation…

The presence of children is a gift to our congregation and a reminder that not only are we growing, but that Judaism’s future is in the room with us right now.  How we treat them today affects their behavior as Jews tomorrow.  Please welcome our children and give a smile to them and their families

We thank you for respecting these guidelines. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office directly.