HAFTR Middle School has incorporated a unique class into its curriculum: the Bar & Bat Mitzvah workshop. These weekly classes teach middle school students exactly what it means to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The girls’ class is taught by Rebbetzin Suri Teitelbaum, Rebbetzin of the Young Israel of Lawrence and Cedarhurst, and HAFTR Faculty member. The boys meet with Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Siff, beloved HAFTR Rabbi. Not only do the students learn about the proper middot as well as halachic responsibility expected of girls and boys of Bar/Bat mitzvah age, but students learn the proper behavior at actual Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations. As part of the course, HAFTR Middle School hosts a mock Bar and Bat Mitzvah at Beth Shalom, where students are able to walk through an actual celebration and learn the appropriate behavior each step of the way. . From the moment they walk into the door and wish a Mazel Tov to the guest of honor and baalie simcha (the parents), students experience a celebration and learn exactly how to be a respectful young man or woman at such an event. The Bar and Bat Mitzvah course encourages HAFTR Middle School students to enjoy themselves at these events, while acting like a mensch. Students are also encouraged to take upon themselves an additional chessed opportunity.
Additionally, the Middle School hosts evening events Mothers/Daughters and for Fathers/Sons. For the women, the program consists of and introduction from Dr. Brand, Principal, on the meaning of becoming a Bat Mitzvah, as well as sessions on challah baking, learning b’chavruta about exceptional Jewish Women, and getting dance pointers for simcha dancing. The men are greeted by Rabbi Dovid Kupchik, Menahel and are reminded of the joy involved in to taking on themselves the responsibility of the mitzvoth. The boys and their fathers learn about the Mitzvah of Tefilin as well as how Tefillin are actually constructed. Simcha dancing is also on the program for the boys. Both evenings are sponsored by the PTA, with a lavish dinner and a special gift for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Boy and Girl.