DENVER, Colo. – June 2021 – B’nai Havurah synagogue announces a new one-year B’nai Mitzvah (Bar/Bat) program for Jewish youth and their families, providing them with the identity and skills needed to be Jewish in today’s world. The program, My Mitzvah, brings together Jewish families from diverse backgrounds and levels of knowledge to train together toward individual and shared goals. The youth participants will gain mastery of Hebrew songs and prayers by reading either Hebrew or transliteration, making the program accessible to those for whom reading Hebrew is an obstacle.
“While the young person is the one experiencing the Mitzvah, this program provides a community for families to connect and find a welcoming, non-judgmental place in which to grow Jewishly with others,” said Risa Aqua, program director of My Mitzvah.
The My Mitzvah program is open to families who are not members of B’nai Havurah and the synagogue will host preview events for families to learn more about the program and participate in fun activities for kids and adults alike. Event attendees will meet other families who are exploring opportunities to embark on a B’nai Mitzvah journey.
The next preview event:
- “Jump Start Your Mitzvah” Sunday, August 8, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Fred Thomas Park, Denver
B’nai Havurah recognizes that there are Jewish people living in Denver who are not affiliated with a synagogue but still want their children to experience a B’nai Mitzvah. The My Mitzvah program, starting in September 2021, provides B’nai Mitzvah-aged youth and their families the opportunity to build a connection to their Jewish roots through celebrating Shabbat and holidays, learning song and dance, and practicing the Jewish values of tikkun olam – the responsibility to care for humanity and the planet. The program includes two monthly classes for students, focusing on Torah, Jewish identity, service leadership, and mastery of songs and prayers. Families will engage through celebrations and small casual gatherings.
The My Mitzvah program is inclusive of different learning styles, backgrounds, all gender identities, all family constellations and all types of families: traditionally Jewish, questioning, interfaith, those identifying with any or no denomination within Judaism. My Mitzvah tuition also includes a seat at B’nai Havurah’s acclaimed, thoughtful, musical services — at High Holy Days or any time of year — as well as opportunities to do social action, celebrate, learn and socialize with the greater B’nai Havurah community. B’nai Havurah is empowered by Mordecai Kaplan’s teaching that, in Judaism, “belonging and behaving come before believing,” and these three tenets shape the My Mitzvah program.
My Mitzvah program is directed by a dynamic duo and long-time leaders in the Denver Jewish Community, Risa and Hal Aqua. Risa has been teaching Hebrew for over 30 years and preparing children for B’nai Mitzvah for 15 years, co-leading dozens of services with Hal. Hal has been the Music Director at B’nai Havurah for 15 years and currently serves as the synagogue’s Cantorial Ritual Director.
About B’nai Havurah: B’nai Havurah is affiliated with Reconstructing Judaism, which is committed to the renewal of American Jewish life. The movement defines Judaism as an evolving religious civilization that encompasses history, literature, art, music, land, and language. This is done through study, worship and joyous practice, social justice, acts of kindness, and connection with the Jewish people. B’nai Havurah has been a Denver Jewish community for 60 years. It was formed by young Jews from observant backgrounds who wanted to revitalize Judaism for a modern Western world. B’nai Havurah was the first in Denver to have women read from the Torah, the first to have instrumental music at their services, and the first to reconstruct their prayers to be non-gendered and non-patriarchal. B’nai Havurah is an inclusive, caring, thinking community based on social action, rich cultural heritage, and joyous practice. To learn more, please visit https://www.bnaihavurah.org/.