Temple Israel is offering a unique opportunity to adult members of its congregation: the chance to be a part of the first adult b’nai mitzvah class at the new Sterling Ridge building later this year.

“We want to encourage people to upgrade their Jewish knowledge,” Rabbi Aryeh Azriel said. “Adult b’nai mitzvah is for people who maybe never had a bar or bat mitzvah. Women of course were not always given the opportunity to have a bat mitzvah and so we want to invite women, who we treat in this congregation as equals, as well as those who may have converted to Judaism or simply those who, for whatever reason, never had a b’nai mitzvah when they were younger. This is an opportunity to acquire knowledge and opinions about things that maybe they stopped learning at age 13. This is a chance to be Jewishly adult.”

Class participants will learn to read Hebrew and master common vocabulary, recite and understand the worship service, chant several lines of Torah and become familiar with and be able to utilize trope. In addition, each class member will be able to discuss the Torah, the prophets and Nevi’im, and gain a deeper understanding of the liturgy including the history and meaning of the prayers. The class will experience Shabbat morning worship in the Reform as well as in the Conservative and Orthodox traditions at Beth El and Beth Israel Synagogues, though the tenets of Reform Judaism will be emphasized.

Each participant will write a d’var Torah about the parsha and his or her personal Jewish journey.

Additionally, during the year of study, students will participate in at least one social action project sponsored by Temple Israel and contribute to the class tzedakah project.

“We want adults in our congregation to see this as an opportunity to study with the clergy and to be in relationship with other members of the congregation,” Rabbi Azriel said. “We want them to one day step on the bimah and celebrate this achievement with each other and their families.”

Instructors for the adult b’nai mitzvah class are Na’ama Artzi, Rabbi Aryeh Azriel, Rabbi Josh Brown and Cantor Wendy Shermet.

Enrollment fee for an individual is $250 and $450 for a couple. Confidential scholarships are available by contacting Executive Director Dennis DePorte at (402) 556-6536.

To register, contact Program Director Wendy Goldberg at wgoldberg@templeisraelomaha.com or at (402) 556-6536.