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Meet Dylan Shenker - Our Most Recent Bar Mitzvah

Dylan is an 8th grader at Thomas J. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda. He highly  values his family and Jewish tradition, and, in his own words from a recent essay, "Music is my deepest passion, but giving to others is my deepest desire."  He is an accomplished classical piano player and composer, and also has been playing violin for the past four years.

In keeping with Dylan's strongly held values, he prioritized having his grandparents be physically present to participate in his Bar Mitzvah in a COVID-safe manner, reading the Torah and Haftorah portions that match his new, postponed April 24 Bar Mitzvah date from a Torah scroll, and integrating instrumental and vocal music into the Shabbat service when he had to make some tough choices about this rite of passage in the pandemic.  He therefore will be celebrating his bar mitzvah in the backyard of his home, and inviting the BJC community to participate by Zoom. 

Years before Dylan needed to select a mitzvah project, he started volunteering with the Tacy Foundation,,which aims to brings hope and joy to older members of the community living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehabilitative centers, as well as hospital patients, by performing music for them in person. 


During the pandemic, he has continued to volunteer with Tacy by recording and uploading videos of him playing classical piano for distribution online, planning and performing an outdoor concert at a rehabilitation center with his brother this past summer, and taking online classes through Tacy's "Piano Pals" program to learn to teach piano to elementary school students in nearby economically disadvantaged schools.  In addition to volunteering, he will be making a donation to the Tacy Foundation for his bar mitzvah.

Preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah

The occasion of your child becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a very special time for you and your family, and for our congregation as well. While there are many days in the lives of our children that are filled with pride and joy, this moment in Jewish life enables and encourages us pause to appreciate the awesomeness of your child taking an honored place in shalshelet ha-kabbalah, the chain of our Jewish tradition.

Families who wish for their sons to become Bar Mitzvah or their daughters to become Bat Mitzvah (plural B’nai Mitzvah) are invited to join BJC and enroll their children in our Jewish education program. Children typically enroll in the fourth grade and are required to complete the seventh grade year, although exceptions can be made for children in full-time Jewish day school or transferring from another synagogue religious school.

Our students are trained to lead the congregation in the appropriate blessings for the worship service and with the rabbi, lead the congregation on a Saturday morning. Students chant from the Sefer Torah, as well as a Haftarah, and deliver a commentary on the day’s Torah portion crafted together with the Rabbi. In the year of the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony, individual tutors are assigned to each student (additional fee required) from BJC’s list of experienced teachers.

Fri, September 17 2021 11 Tishrei 5782