The ceremony completed a two-year personal journey rich with community service, Jewish learning and personal interest projects for each of the eight b’nai mitzvah students in the initial JKG cohort.
The eight: Xander Herman, Hannah Kauffman, Chloe Melton, Carter Nichols, Pierce Rosenhaft, Jordyn Rosenstein, Luca Schittone and Ryan Tinter.
Each student spoke at the ceremony about the journey into Jewish adulthood, and they expressed pride in their unique Jewish identities.
“The minute I got (to JKG), I instantly knew there was a lot of fun in store for the years ahead. I was definitely right,” said Chloe Melton, who has participated in JKG for six years. “From the interactive activities to the singing to the ridiculously cool teachers, JKG quickly became a place I knew I wanted to be. Being part of an interfaith family, I am more than grateful for this opportunity that I have been given and for everyone who made it possible.”
The eight students led a Havdalah ceremony for the 350 attendees, with the transition from Shabbat to the week mirroring their transition from childhood to adulthood, and they received individual blessings from their families.
“The ceremony had all the elements we were hoping for. There were moments of tradition, tenderness, fellowship, and, of course, fun,” said Barrie Herman, parent of bar mitzvah Xander Herman.
In an informal format resembling a science fair, the eight students presented the passion projects they spent the year researching, on topics ranging from “Evolution of Jewish Music” to “20th-Century Jewish Feminists.”
JKG expects to have two graduating b’nai mitzvah classes in 2019.
JKG’s b’nai mitzvah program serves families who are searching for a meaningful, nontraditional way to mark the transformation into Jewish adulthood. Learn more at JewishKidsGroups.com/Middle-School.