Bar/Bat Mitzvah UPGRADE Project Launches Third Season

In a celebration of Jewish identity, pride, and tradition, EnerJew’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah UPGRADE project has embarked on its third season. With thousands of Jewish teenage graduates, both boys and girls from across the FSU, the transformative Bar/Bat Mitzvah project continues its mission to create an ever-lasting impact.

Annually engaging around 1,000 teenagers, EnerJew’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah UPGRADE program comprises ten dynamic sessions in each participant’s local Jewish community. Over the course of a year, Jewish teenagers aged 12-13 mainly from unaffiliated backgrounds, delve into themes of responsibility, key aspects, and traditions of Judaism. The program culminates in a grand Shabbaton where participants from all the various cities will come together to celebrate their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Designed primarily for children from unaffiliated Jewish families, the project aims to provide a deeper understanding of Judaism and facilitate a meaningful connection to Jewish life. Sessions are conducted in a personal growth and self-development style, treating the participants as young adults.

“Thanks to this training, they undergo primary Jewish self-identification,” says Rebbetzin Ida Kolpak from Birobidzhan, “feeling more comfortable attending synagogue, observing Shabbat, and attending community festivals. The grand Shabbaton and meeting peers from different cities provide them with rapid development!”

The informal approach includes a creative notebook with tasks, texts, and biographical stories about important figures in Judaism. Interactive elements such as QR codes, coloring, and crafting activities enhance the learning experience. The training program is adjusted annually based on feedback from children, parents, and community rabbis.

The program, active across the FSU, is also taking place in Ukraine despite the challenges, in some areas, the sessions are even held in bomb shelters.

Rabbi Azaria Shaulov, the head of the Bar Bat Mitzvah project, expressed satisfaction: “We are very pleased when we see that the kids want to continue their Jewish education. This year, graduates actively participated in the School of Madrichim, another important project at EnerJew, which prepares Jewish leaders to take responsibility within their communities.”

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah UPGRADE project is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Finger Family and Meromim Foundations.

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