Bar/Bat Mitzvah

The Kivunim Programme 5782 (2021/22)

Welcome to Kivunim, Sinai’s B’nei Mitzvah programme in partnership with the Movement for Reform Judaism (RJUK). Kivunim means Directions, as we see this programme as signposting our young people towards their future life as a Jewish adult and a full member of our community, recognising that they have options, and may not all choose the same route. It involves learning about Jewish rituals and traditions, in greater detail than they have previously, with an emphasis on Reform Jewish values and how to put them into practice.  This includes learning how to lead their community in prayer and other ways they can contribute to community life. 

Kivunim is a two-year programme which our young people are invited to join as they transition to secondary school, at the beginning of Year 7. Girls are treated in exactly the same manner as boys, in accordance with our core value of egalitarianism. All girls and boys become Bat or Bar Mitzvah on their thirteenth birthday, according to the Jewish date, and will be given the opportunity to lead the Shabbat shacharit service and read Torah on a shabbat shortly following this date. All students are treated as individuals and every effort will be made to accommodate individual needs or learning difficulties.

The programme consists of two strands: Reform Judaism and Hebrew.

Reform Judaism

The Kivunim curriculum focuses on six main topics: in Year 7 we explore Jewish Identity, Tikkun Olam and Community; in Year 8 we focus on Jewish Ritual, Informed Decision Making and Jewish Life beyond B’nei Mitzvah. We encourage the students to debate issues and to think about their own Jewish practice and what is important to them as individuals, as a member of the Sinai community and as a member of the wider Jewish community. These topics are introduced on the RJUK Kivunim residential weekends and developed in regular Kivunim Activity sessions back at Sinai. These will be led by an experienced teacher who also has lots of experience in informal Jewish education, with an emphasis on enjoyment and building positive Jewish identity, helping each individual to achieve their chosen goals. Some of the activities will need to be done at home and we ask parents to support your children in this. When the students have completed any of the activities, they can log it on the Kivunim App, earn points (footsteps) and even win prizes as they progress along their Jewish journey.

Residential Weekends

The core part of the Kivunim programme is delivered at the residential weekends and all students are required to attend these events, twice a year. Further information and dates are given in the Kivunim brochure.


Hebrew is taught in small groups, accommodating students at different levels of Hebrew fluency, including complete beginners. We follow a curriculum based on the Siddur, and the lessons involve discussion about the meanings and interpretations of the liturgy.  This takes place on Saturday mornings, at 9:15-10:15, before the service starts. Once a month the students take part in our Kivunim Family Service, where they gain experience of leading prayers from the bimah. Service attendance is an important part of their learning and helps them become more familiar with the prayers, tunes, and format of Jewish worship at Sinai.

A year before their 13th birthday the children are given a date for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah and may move from group Hebrew learning to an individual tutor. A peer mentor may also be available, usually a teenager who has recently become Bar or Bat Mitzvah themselves.  They will hear the student practice reading from the siddur, building up a relationship with both the child, the parents, and the tutor. 

The tutor will be chosen in consultation with the parents and the child in order to provide the whole family with a positive learning outcome.  The tutor teaches the student his/her Parashah, helps them write a D’var Torah, discusses the Haftarah, helps the student choose a study passage and ensures that they are prepared and confident to lead the community through the Shabbat Shacharit service. Tutors may charge a fee for tutoring; however, we are fortunate at Sinai to have a group of experienced and extremely knowledgeable adults who are willing to give up their time to act as tutors to ensure that all our Kivunim students are catered for.  

All our young people will be supported to fulfil the mitzvah of Bar/Bat Mitzvah and acknowledge their transition into Jewish adulthood in a way which is most appropriate to them; so, for example, students with additional learning needs or those lacking in confidence will be supported by appropriate tutors and rabbinic input to design a ceremony which is meaningful and appropriate for the family.

Becoming part of the Sinai Community

We encourage families to become involved in all parts of Sinai life and to see the Kivunim programme as preparation for their future involvement with and commitment to the Sinai community, not just for the student, but for the whole family.

We hope that our young people will agree that all parts of this programme have value and decide for themselves to participate fully. Of course, they need the full support of their parents and wider family to do this. We rely on parents to encourage their children to participate fully, despite all the other claims on their time during the two years of the Kivunim programme, and ask parents and children to sign an agreement committing to do so.  

11 August 2022 - 10 September 2022
There are no events currently scheduled.