7701 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20012
The concept of a “Bar Mitzvah ceremony” can probably be traced back to the 14th Century. But the first known American to become a Bat Mitzvah was Judith Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan in March 1922. In the last 25 years, becoming a Bat Mitzvah has become standard in most Conservative and Reform synagogues.
Since the early 1970’s, the role of women in TI synagogue ritual has steadily expanded. In 1990 the first adult Bat Mitzvah class was formed under Cynthia Peterman. Madeline Nesse z”l took over the Anshei Mitzvah (Adult B’nai Mitzvah) class and coordinated it through May 2006. The most recent adult Bat Mitzvah classwas taught by Rabbi Avis Miller and the women celebrated with great joy in a Shabbat ceremony in May, 2010.
TI is continuing the tradition by offering another two year Bat Mitzvah class.
In this class, women will explore a whole range of subjects, including Jewish beliefs, ethics, liturgy, holidays and life cycle events, all from the special perspective of Jewish women. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas and life experiences in class discussions, as they gain knowledge and skills, and meet new companions for their Jewish journey.
Our teacher will again be Rabbi Avis Miller of the Open Dor Foundation, along with TI member Janet Nesse, who will supplement class discussions with instruction in Hebrew and Torah chanting. Rabbi Miller was the second woman ever to lead a service at TI, and has taught almost 400 women for adult bat mitzvah.
The class for 2 hours twice a month, for two academic years, and is open to TI members and non-members. The class will culminate in a group Adult Bat Mitzvah on a Shabbat.
If there is sufficient interest, TI will also offer an adult Bar Mitzvah class led by our Rabbi Seidel, which may have some joint sessions with the adult Bat Mitzvah class.
Rabbi Avis Miller (www.opendor.org/rabbimiller.html) is President of Open Dor Foundation, Inc., anon-profit, 501(c)(3) foundation that does outreach through classes and counseling, as well as Rabbi Emerita of Adas Israel Congregation. She was the first woman to serve a major Conservative pulpit in the U.S., and she had the longest pulpit tenure of any woman in the Conservative movement.
She has twice chaired the Rabbinical Assembly’s national committee on Outreach and Conversion, and has served as President of the regional Rabbinical Assembly. She started the first Learners’ Minyan in the DC area, as well as the first Jewish healing service, and the first classes for engaged couples and expectant couples.
If you are interested in learning more about the class, you can contact the
TI office or Rabbi Miller at email@example.com.