b.mitzvah

Want to set up your child for success as the become a teen?

What if the B’nai Mitzvah process could bolster and nourish your child as they enter adolescence?

How could the process support you in deepening your family connections?



What is the b.mitzvah program?

b. mitzvah focuses on pre-B’nai Mitzvah families at the very beginning of the planning process. It is designed to help families navigate the B’nai Mitzvah journey in an authentic and spiritually meaningful way. Through the program, families will articulate their values and strengths, then put them into action in ways that strengthen their relationships with Judaism and with one another.

A more engaged and meaningful B’nai Mitzvah experience sets the stage for greater participation in the Jewish community for our teens and their families. Our approach will ensure that the B’nai Mitzvah process involves the family, bringing everyone closer by identifying their natural strengths, sparking creativity, and encouraging pathways to authenticity. We will support our B’nai Mitzvah children by reducing their anxiety and developing their self-confidence so they are self-expressed and invested in their B’nai Mitzvah.


Who is a good fit for b.mitzvah?

We are seeking families with a child whose B’nai Mitzvah is upcoming in 18-24 months. 

We encourage diverse family constellations to apply, including multi-faith families, with any level of Jewish literacy who demonstrate interest in engaging the B’nai Mitzvah as a meaningful process. We are looking for families where all parents are committed to participate. 

We work with all families who are having their B’nai Mitzvah with any congregation, organization or individual rabbi. This program does not replace the B’nai Mitzvah process; it is designed to prepare your family to have a strong foundation for the process and for the future.


What topics are covered in b.mitzvah?

The program is grounded in a combination of understanding Jewish values (using the approach of Tikkun Middot and Mussar — Jewish spiritual values and attributes), individual Strengths (using the CliftonStrengths assessment from Gallup) and tools from Jewish Spiritual Direction. 

During this Covid-19 pandemic, families have even more choices to make about having a B’nai Mitzvah. Many of the aspects that make the B’nai Mitzvah experience meaningful may be significantly altered. Families will need to get clear about what is most essential and significant to them in the face of uncertainty. This experience will help them process some of the losses, then focus and strengthen what is most essential and meaningful. 


Who is leading b.mitzvah?

The program is designed and run by Rabbi Joshua Lesser and Dr. Ariela Freedman. 



Rabbi Joshua Lesser serves Congregation Bet Haverim. He is the co-author of the chapter on B’nai Mitzvah in the Reconstructionist Guide to Jewish Practice. He is a Lev Shomea certified Spiritual Director and is joining the faculty of the Hebrew Union College Spiritual Director training program. Rabbi Joshua Lesser works closely with his B’nai Mitzvah families and has designed several innovative teen initiatives. He was named one of The Forward’s 50 Most Inspiring Rabbis in 2013 and the first person to receive the Georgia Center for Nonprofits’ Revolutions Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Leader.


Dr. Ariela Freedman is a Gallup-certified Strengths coach with her business, MavenTree Consulting. She facilitates team-building workshops and art workshops, and conducts individual coaching sessions, all designed to help people understand how to put their unique Strengths and values into action. Dr. Freedman began her career as a high school teacher, and she has worked with people of all ages and across many sectors. She is an Adjunct Professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and also a certified Positive Discipline coach and trainer


What does it cost to participate in b.mitzvah?

The program costs $150/family. (Please let us know if cost is a barrier to participation. We will work with families to make sure they are able to participate).


What are the dates/times of b.mitzvah sessions? Do I have to attend all sessions?

Program dates are February 7, 21, and March 7 and 21. All sessions run from 3-4:30 pm on Zoom. Families are expected to attend all sessions, plus 2-3 additional hour-long family coaching sessions.


How do I apply?

Please apply here.

For additional questions, email bmitzvah18@gmail.com