Mazltov to the Zayin Class of 2013!

This past Saturday, Boston Workmen's Circle celebrated its 21st graduating b'nai mitzvah class. Zayin (7th grade) students led the ceremony, weaving together traditional elements and music with readings, songs and poetry, and each making a personal statement about their Jewish identity. Our Zayin currciulum focuses on Jewish Identity, Responsibility, and Community, and students spend the year learning how Judaism is distinct from other religions and how secular Judaism relates to traditional Jewish practice. By the end of the year, each of the the students have reflected on the way that they connect to these values, and use their reflection as the basis for their personal statements. More than 300 friends, family and community members were in attendance as students spoke about their years in Shule, their thoughts on being Jewish, and their commitment to the values of social justice and secular Jewish heritage. Our b'nai mitzvah students impressed the community with their insight, wisdom, humor, and honesty.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a kiddush, party, and luncheon, with a candlelighting ceremony in which b'nai mitzvah parents honored their child individually and presented their own coming of age "blessing." Here are some parents' reflections on the ceremony:

"We, our family, friends all had a wonderful time, and I heard many comments about how meaningful a ceremony it was, marking a transition into adulthood that was both rooted in tradition and unique. I had a moment during the party when I paused to look around and saw many of you engrossed with your family and friends, seeming to be having a great time.  It was in that moment that I realized that we had created a celebration of our children as individuals and as members of a larger community.  Seemed to fit in so well with the WC values."

"We are so grateful for the support this class has provided our family.  We are grateful for the Zayin teacher's forthright and kind manner, for all your children's quiet encouragement and solidarity, for the scaffolding of expectations and for the series of shared experiences all of which combined to make our son feel comfortable enough to get up in front of 360 people who did not know him and describe his Jewish self, past and future, and crack a few jokes while doing so.  He will carry the success of this experience the rest of his days and so will we."

"Our gratitude is heartfelt to all of the Zayin families and the WC teaching and administrative staff. The ceremony struck just the right emotional chord weaving elements of tradition with modern values. Our children made us proud and awed us with their wisdom, humor, candor and sensitivity. We were amazed by how smoothly all the planning went and how much less stressful planning a bar/bat mitzvah was as part of a community. We are grateful to all of you for your contributions to this beautiful celebration. The party was joyful, filled with fantastic energy. Our children literally soared."

Big thanks to all the Zayin class parents who organized this wonderful ceremony - and mazltov to the class of 2013!