B-Mitzvah Manual


Dear B-Mitzvah Families,

Mazel Tov on your upcoming celebration! Becoming a B-Mitzvah is one of the greatest events in the life cycle of a Jewish family, and we are honored to share this special milestone with you. We are available to be of help in any way we can and look forward to working with you and your child(ren) over the coming months or years.

The information included in this manual is designed to help make preparing for a B-Mitzvah as smooth and meaningful as possible, and we hope you will read it carefully. Please call any time with questions or concerns.

Again, Mazel Tov and all our best wishes at this exciting time!

The BHBE B-Mitzvah Team

Introduction and Who’s Who in the B-Mitzvah Program

B-Mitzvah planning at BHBE is truly a collaborative effort between our clergy, the Director of Education, the synagogue’s administrative staff, and our B-Mitzvah families working together to ensure preparations are smooth, effective, and tailored to the individual needs of each student. Below are key members of the team:

  • Cantor Pavel Roytman assigns the B-Mitzvah dates and the Torah and Haftarah portions. He also tutors the students for their ceremonies, and coordinates family participation in the chanting of additional Torah portions. Cantor Roytman manages the overall B-Mitzvah calendar, in consultation with Rabbi Crane and the chair of the Ritual Committee. Cantor Roytman can be reached at cantor@bhbe.org.
  • Rabbi Nate Crane works with the family on issues of ritual decision making and content, and directly with the students on the meaning of their Torah and Haftarah portions. He also works with the student to prepare a speech that will be given on the day of the B-Mitzvah ceremony. Rabbi Crane can be reached at rabbi@bhbe.org.
  • Aaron Frankel, Director of Education and Young Family Programming works to incorporate content and skills that will be used for the B-Mitzvah into both Academy and family programming, and is responsible for working with students on their mitzvah projects. Aaron works closely with the rabbi and cantor to help guide the B-Mitzvah experience. He can be reached at aaron.frankel@bhbe.org or by phone at 847-256-0755.
  • Michael Kahn, Executive Director manages the financial arrangements and logistics and is available to discuss any other issues that may arise. Michael can be reached by phone at 847-256-6494 or at michael.kahn@bhbe.org. Please see the documents that accompany this handbook for specifics regarding fees and catering.
  • Robin Smulson, Ritual Director is in charge of the honors and many of the logistics during the ceremony, including making certain that those participating are in the right place at the right time. Click here to view a list of some of the honors which can be assigned.

Some Basic Information

  1. Setting Date and Time
    The date of the B-Mitzvah is set by the Cantor in coordination with the synagogue calendar and the B-Mitzvah families.
  2. Tutoring
    During the year before the B-Mitzvah, your child will meet individually with Cantor Roytman or a designated tutor. The number and timing of lessons will be determined based on the child’s individual skills, family goals, and circumstances. The Cantor is looking forward to getting to know your family and working with you to help create a fully meaningful and memorable B-Mitzvah experience.
  3. Aliyot and Other Honors
    We look forward to having your family members and friends participate in your celebration. You can expect the Ritual Chair, Robin Smulson, to contact your family about a month in advance of the B-Mitzvah to help you assign honors. Please see below for more information about honors during the ceremony.

Mitzvah Project Component

As students approach their B-Mitzvah, we try to personalize that experience to make it individually relevant and reflective of Biblical texts the students will encounter. Giving back to the community is a core value of Judaism. Therefore, we guide each child to choose a “Mitzvah” that is both personally meaningful and helpful to the community. It is always good to encourage the child to come up with their own ideas for Mitzvot they can perform as part of this experience, but our staff and the child’s family have a strong role in guiding and supporting that process.

Aaron Frankel, Director of Education and Young Family Programming, will support you and your child through this aspect of the experience, in consultation with the rabbi and cantor.

Here are some great resources!

B-Mitzvah Preparation Timeline

For the sequence of B-Mitzvah steps, from the assignment of the B-Mitzvah date all the way through the day of the ceremony, please view this B-Mitzvah Timeline.


There are a number of honors during the service which you can assign to family and friends. Click here to view!

Other Resources

BHBE Sisterhood wishes you a mazel tov on your child’s Simcha.

It is a very special time in the life of your family and we want to make the “other” details easy for you. Sisterhood offers you one stop shopping for your B-Mitzvah needs.

  • You can purchase personalized invitations for 25% off the retail price. The invitation books are in the office and can be taken home to browse. Contact: Marsha Lyons, roarmbl@gmail.com.
  • The Judaica Shop sells B-Mitzvah Tallitot, and they can order one if you find something you like elsewhere. Contact Joan Meyers @ 847-602-2257 or Robin Smulson @ 847-982-1233.
  • Personalized kippot can also be purchased through Sisterhood.

Please support Sisterhood on your Simcha as Sisterhood always supports Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah!