Bar Mitzvah

Mazal Tov on your Son’s Bar Mitzvah

Rabbi Yanky will be glad to officiate. At Loughton Shul our primary goal is assisting families to live Jewish lives with pride, with knowledge and with enthusiasm. When your child reaches the age of Bar Mitzvah, we share with your family the privilege and responsibility of welcoming him into the adult Jewish community. In reaching this goal, we feel that family participation and support are integral to your child’s success in this process. We therefore ask for family involvement throughout. Together, we hope to instil the meaning and significance of the occasion, to celebrate appropriately, and to honour your child’s place among the Jewish people.

Age and Dates

Bar Mitzvah is the day on which a child becomes responsible for Mitzvot and accountable for both positive and negative behaviours under Jewish law. According to Jewish tradition, this takes place at age 13. This happens automatically on their Jewish birth date, regardless of the way the day is marked. The ceremony and celebration should take place as close to the Jewish birthday as possible. The Jewish calendar follows the lunar cycle and represents the years from creation. The secular calendar follows the solar cycle. Most often, the Jewish and secular birthdays end up being days or weeks apart. To determine your child’s Jewish birthday, please consult with the Rabbi. We recommend scheduling Bar Mitzvahs at least 18 months prior to your child’s 13th birthday. While planning and preparation takes about one year, it is important to get the date on the Loughton Shul to avoid any conflicts. To choose a date, set up an initial meeting with the Rabbi to determine your child’s Jewish birthday. Your child’s Bar Mitzvah must be in the year following that date, as close as possible to the date but not before it. A boy begins Bar Mitzvah preparation 1 year prior to his Bar Mitzvah. This includes a weekly class with other Bar Mitzvah boys participating in the Bar Mitzvah Heritage Course for approximately 12 weeks and thorough completion of the Bar Mitzvah workbook. This will be preceded or followed by at least 6 months of private lessons with the Rabbi in
preparation for his ceremony. The Bar Mitzvah celebration is, after all, a Jewish celebration. We therefore have some guidelines which have been implemented to uphold the proper spirit and character of a Bar Mitzvah.


Following are the Bar Mitzvah guidelines.

Bar Mitzvah Guidelines In order to hold your child’s ceremony and/or celebration at Loughton shul, the following requirements must be met:

1. Your child must be born to a Jewish mother or converted in accordance with the guidelines set by the Offices of the Federation of Synagogues. If the mother or maternal grandmother converted to Judaism, please set up an appointment with the Rabbi to determine if those conversions meet with the above stated guidelines. According to the Jewish tradition, solely the mother determines religious identity and an intermarried family where the father is not Jewish has no effect on the religious identity of the child.

2. We require active family participation in Jewish community experiences beginning at least one year prior to the Bar Mitzvah. Active participation includes participation in holiday programs. This would show family participation and support to your son. It will also make your family and son familiar with Jewish community life.

3. The Bar Mitzvah Heritage Course is designed especially for Bar Mitzvah students who are approaching their special day. It is necessary for the Bar Mitzvah boy to attend this course which is a supplement to any Hebrew School and Bar Mitzvah training.

4. A pair of Kosher Tefillin must be purchased for every Bar Mitzvah boy at least 3 months prior to his Hebrew birthday. Either Rabbi can order them for you or we can refer you to a legitimate seller. Please do not purchase them from an outside source before consulting with us. The Rabbi will teach your son the significance of Tefillin and how to put them on. Bar Mitzvah Service Options There are different options of Bar Mitzvah Services which you may pick from for your Bar Mitzvah. Each has its own unique level of participation for the Bar Mitzvah boy as well as different requirements.


Ceremony Options

1. A Sunday/weekday Tefillin service. This service held on Sunday/weekday morning. It does not include a Torah reading unless it’s a Monday or Thursday. The Bar Mitzvah boy dons Tefillin, leads several prayers in Hebrew as well as in English. After the service the Bar Mitzvah boy shares a speech. Songs, the Rabbi’s speech, the parents blessing and/or speech and the throwing of candies are included in this service. This service is approximately 45 minutes. Photography, videography & microphones are welcome.

2. Havdalah Service: This service begins 1 hour after Shabbat is over. It includes the Bar Mitzvah Boy chanting the service in Hebrew and reciting the blessings over grape juice, spices and the havdalah candle. He would also share a speech. Songs, the Rabbi’s speech, the parents blessing and/or speech and the throwing of candies are included in this service. This service is approximately 45 minutes. Photography, videography & microphones are welcome. This service is only practical during the fall/winter months when GMT is in effect as sundown is very early.

3. A Rosh Chodesh service. This service is generally held when the first day of the Jewish month, Rosh Chodesh, falls out on a Sunday. This morning service begins at 8:30am. It includes the Bar Mitzvah Boy reading the Torah during service. The Rabbi shares vignettes about the prayers interspersed throughout the service. After the service the Bar Mitzvah boy shares a speech. The Rabbi’s speech, the parents blessing and/or speech and the throwing of candies are included in this service. This service is approximately 75 minutes. Men & women sit separately. Photography, videography & microphones are welcome.

4. A Monday or Thursday service on a legal holiday. This service held on legal holidays when guests have flexibility to attend. It is a morning service at 9:00am. It includes the Bar Mitzvah Boy reading the Torah during service. The Rabbi shares vignettes about the prayers interspersed throughout the service. After the service the Bar Mitzvah boy shares a speech. The Rabbi’s speech, the parents blessing and/or speech and the throwing of candies are included in this service. This service is approximately 75 minutes. Men & women sit separately. Photography, videography & microphones are welcome.

5. A Shabbat afternoon service: This service begins approximately 75 minutes before sundown or any other time in the afternoon. It includes the Bar Mitzvah Boy reading the Torah followed by a small service. After the service the Bar Mitzvah boy would share a speech. Songs, the Rabbi’s speech, the parents blessing and/or speech and the throwing of candies are included in this service. This service is approximately 75 minutes. Men & women sit separately.

6. A Shabbat morning service. This service is on Saturday mornings and begins at 9:30am – 12:15pm. It includes the Bar Mitzvah Boy reading the Torah and possibly parts of the service and the throwing of candies is included. The Bar Mitzvah boy & the Rabbi give a speech during the service. The service is following by a Kiddush (an informal light buffet lunch) that usually ends about 1:00pm. The parents blessing and/or speech are welcome during the Kiddush. The service includes a morning Shabbat service from 9:30 -10:30, the Torah reading from about 10:30-11:15, speeches and the concluding service from about 11:50 – 12:15. We encourage you to invite your
guests for the main service which begins at 10:30am. This service is approximately 2 hours. Men & women sit separately


Fees and extras

There is a cost for Private tutoring Lesson £30 Per hour The Bar Mitzvah Club is £100 for 12 lessons with other children includes activities.

Date Reservations
Every effort will be made to accommodate you on the date you need for the ceremony. However, please understand that dates are booked well in advance and there is a chance that the date and/or location of your choice will not be available. We suggest you call first and check
the calendar before finalising any plans.

The Synagogues make available the simple Kippot for usage by your male guests. It is a beautiful tradition (not obligatory) for the family to order special Kippot with a personal “Mazel Tov” imprint. These should be ordered well in advance to allow for shipment. We can advise where to print

If you have chosen the Saturday morning service option, the Bar Mitzvah families are required to sponsor the kiddush (an informal light buffet lunch) immediately following a Shabbat services. Please keep in mind that the kiddush is for the whole Congregation. You may opt to host a sitdown lunch. Prices for Kiddush vary based upon the number of people and choice of foods. Please Contact Ruth Leigh
If you want outside Catering, we only allow certain Caterers. Please contact Rabbi Yanky If you are planning an off-site party reception in honour of the Bar Mitzvah in addition to the service, we suggest and encourage that it be a Kosher affair and held after the Shabbat. This
would be the proper message for a “Bar Mitzvah”. In the event you choose not to follow this suggestion, separate invitation cards must be prepared, one for the Service and another for the reception.

Information you may need to know
We hope that with your participation in Shabbat services prior to the Bar Mitzvah you will become accustomed to the practices and traditions of the service.


We have outlined some of the guidelines below:

a. The Shul has a “mechitza” (divider) between the men and women section during the services mentioned above.
b. There is no mechitza needed for a Tefillin and Havdallah Service.
c. Photography shoots for a Shabbat service are allowed on a date prior to the Shabbat celebration usually the Thursday before we have a dress rehearsal.
d. All items that will be delivered for a Shabbat service, whether food, flowers, kippot or anything else, must be delivered prior to Shabbat. All pick up of left over items must be done after Shabbat is over.
e. Any printed materials (booklets, flyers, etc.) that you plan to distribute at the Bar Mitzvah must be reviewed and approved by the Rabbi prior to the event.
f. All speeches must be pre-approved by the Rabbi. 
g. There is a tradition to toss sweet at the Bar Mitzvah boy after his Aliya. Only “Soft Sweets like Gelo we can provide for a small fee
h. The family of the Bar Mitzvah can distribute the Aliyot (honour of being called to the Torah) to their family and friends. Please keep in mind that only Jewish men over the age of 13 are called for these honours. An Aliya form has been included in this package with detailed information to help you select those you wish to honour.