LOS ANGELES — The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las Vegas design excess, is planning to get a full makeover, but for an entirely different rationale. מתן אמן על חושי Families happen to be handling this rite of passage not as an entry to Jewish life, but as a graduation ceremony: turn 13, read in the Torah, possess a party and it’s over. Many leave synagogue till they have kids of their very own, and lots of never return — a cycle that Jewish leaders say has been undermining organized Judaism . As the new year is celebrated by Jews Wednesday night, leaders in the biggest division of Judaism, the Reform movement, are beginning an initiative to stop the attrition by reinventing the entire bar and bat mitzvah process. http://www.avivaeruim.com/ Thirteen Reform congregations throughout the nation have volunteered to pilot the change, and an added 67 are about the runway. Everything is to the table: how or whether to teach Hebrew, whether to delay the ceremony until kids are older, and even whether to require children to read from the Torah — now the centerpiece of most bar mitzvah services and also the culmination of years of study. Parents will most likely be anticipated to play a bigger role and emphasis will transfer to social action from prayer. “ I I read Torah, I study Torah,” is a professor of Jewish education at Hebrew Union College in La and said Isa Aron, who's helping lead the Reform movement’s initiative. “But what’s the purpose of getting family members and your 200 or 300 closest friends together and having your kid read a text they don’t comprehend in a language they don’t comprehend? “Maybe it shouldn’t be such a performance,” Dr. Aron said. “ It should be about becoming part of the community.” Reform leaders say American Jewry unwittingly sowed the seeds of its stagnation in ’40 and the 1930s s when synagogues, to expand their membership, started to require four or three years of religious school attendance as a prerequisite to the bar mitzvah. Synagogues billed tuition, which became an essential income stream for congregations and assembled classroom wings. “We didn’t realize it,” said Rabbi Bradley Solmsen, the manager of youth participation for the union along with a manager of the brand new initiative, “but we sent the message to families that in the event that you want to be a bar or bat mitzvah, you've got to join up with the synagogue. And When you’re done what they heard was, you can leave the synagogue.’ We’d like to return to our roots and say, How can we make a point of welcome and not the leave point that it’s become to it?” The phenomenon is not exclusive to Judaism. Churches also struggle to stay youthful members engaged, and studies demonstrate that younger Americans are way more unlikely to be religiously affiliated than grandparents and their parents. What is distinct for synagogues is that frequently when the youth depart, so do the parents. http://www.avivaeruim.com/blank-13 The trouble Jewish leaders are trying to handle is deeper in relation to the recurrent lament about bar mitzvah parties that are ostentatious, renovated last month from Dallas of a bar mitzvah boy using a YouTube video hoofing it with Vegas-style showgirls. Their dilemma is they've built the bar mitzvah worship service as the pinnacle up, putting kids through plenty of time plus effort geared to preparing them for a daylong event. Rabbis said in interviews the event has become more a private service for the bar mitzvah family and friends than a communal event for the congregation. http://www.avivaeruim.com/stage Youngsters and their families go through what some rabbis call an “assembly line” that produces little more than “pediatric Judaism,” an immature understanding of its values, the faith and spirituality was schooled in by Jews. Most students deliver a brief speech in regards to the significance of the Torah passage they were delegated to read, however they never really learn to comprehend or speak Hebrew, simply to decode the text. http://www.sweetmagnet.co.il/ Honestly I couldn't tell you what it meant and that I had the phonetics in front of me in a laminated binder,” said Jeff Berman, recalling his bar mitzvah years back on Staten Island, “ although I learned the tune. I simply knew it was important to grandparents and my parents for me to do.” Mr. Berman, 50, who works at a law firm in Los Angeles, exemplifies the cycle of exodus. His wife and he were both raised Jewish and have two sons, ages 12 and 14. They haven't joined a synagogue and are not planning bar mitzvahs, although they occasionally observe Jewish holidays. Mr. Berman says he is an atheist. http://www.sweetmagnet.co.il/events-food-stalls Rabbi Jason Rosenberg of Congregation Beth Am, in Tampa, Fla., said, “We have to place so much energy and so much of our class time into training these children to be prayer leaders, and there’s a lot more to Judaism than leading prayers, and a lot more to Judaism than praying.” In Los Angeles the campaign has grown beyond the Reform movement, with Conservative, Reconstructionist and independent synagogues joining, and also cash being there provided by the Jewish Federation. (Orthodox Jews, who have day schools and don't have equal retention difficulties, are not a part of the initiative.) http://www.sweetmagnet.co.il/table-games-and-multimedia-stations Share the results and each congregation is likely to design its own plan. Yet many of them appear to be going in an identical direction: when the bar mitzvah is over so which they usually do not also leave the synagogue, entail the parents. They want the kids to spend less time learning Hebrew and memorizing prayers, and more time working as a group on prolonged “social action” jobs. (Many congregations already expect “mitzvah jobs,” but those typically call for individual volunteerism, and aren't extensive). Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder, Colo., will ask children to identify a social problem they need to work on and come up with a more-duration “tikkun olam” project, Hebrew for “repair the world.” Katherine Schwartz, director of lifelong learning at Har HaShem, said that among Jewish learning prayer and social action , “we want to have kids see them as having equally critical weight, which is really not what we do now.” In Scotch Plains, N.J., each participating family at Temple Sholom is designing a tailor-made service, with one girl intending to compose new music and prayers, said Rabbi Joel N. Abraham. Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles has been trying. Jordan Sachs-Amrami and his seventh-grade class voted to spend their working on the problem of hunger. They interviewed experts about why hunger persists in a country of plenty, cooked meals at a homeless shelter and stocked shelves at a food pantry. During his bar mitzvah service in the year 2012, Jordan dimmed the lights in the refuge and showed a video he made about what his group learned. Eight of the 10 students in his group are in the temple’s religious school program. At some synagogues, she said, “the cantorial staff believes nothing is broken ” because the b’nai mitzvah services themselves can be quite beautiful and moving. “ is the third rail. “We do n’t touch this lightly, because the rite is so deeply embedded in American culture that is spiritual.”