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Inclusive B’nei Mitzvah Resources

Create deeply meaningful b’nei mitzvah paths for students with diverse learning needs, using tools, curricula, and resources from Gateways.

Gateways Programs

Our B’nei Mitzvah Program

Learn about the Gateways B’nei Mitzvah Preparation Program, which prepares students for their bar/bat mitzvah with a combination of individual tutoring, classroom activities and a weekly prayer service. Read stories from families who worked with Gateways to achieve this important milestone.

boy sitting with Gateways bar mitzvah tutor

Learning to Read Hebrew

Learn more about the unique multi-sensory approach to teaching Hebrew decoding at Gateways.

student and volunteer practicing Hebrew

Prayers and Blessings with Visual Supports

Prayers with visual supports were created to help make prayers simple, accessible, and understandable for students with a variety of disabilities. In these files, each Hebrew phrase is illustrated by a simple picture symbol (we use Mayer-Johnson Boardmaker symbols). Students with learning needs can follow along with each prayer and learn to understand its meaning using symbol prayers. Assemble these prayers into a Siddur, or use them to create file folder activities. 

Ma Tovu

picture symbol for Ma Tovu

Barchu

image symbol for barchu

Shema

picture symbol for Shema

Gadlu

image symbol for gadlu

Blessing before Torah Reading

image symbol for barchu

Blessing after Torah Reading

image symbol of a torah

Vi’zot HaTorah

image symbol for vi'zot hatorah

Ki Mitzion

image symbol for ki mitzion

Learning the Torah Portion

Sample Torah Portion Instruction Page

Gateways students learn to chant one trope phrase at a time.  First they read the phrase in large text with vowels and musical notes.  Then they gradually transition to chanting from the Torah script.

Sample Torah Portion with Symbols

Some students learn to read Torah portions that are illustrated using Boardmaker’s Picture Communication Symbols®.  The colored dots above each symbol represent the trope notes.

Sample Translated Torah Portion with Comprehension Questions

This Torah portion was turned into a booklet illustrated with Picture Communication Symbols®. Reading comprehension questions were added to help assess how well the student understood their Torah portion.

D’var Torah Guides

These guides can be used to support students in writing the D’var Torah for their bar/bat mitzvah by giving them tools and guidelines to express and orgainze their thoughts.

Multiple Choice D’var Torah Guide

page from multiple choice d'var torah guide

To help a student prepare for the D’var Torah at his/her bar/bat mitzvah, this simple multiple choice worksheet asks questions about different aspects of a child’s Judaism through visual representations. This guide will allow a family or teacher to craft a meaningful d’var Torah with a student who has difficulty expressing him/herself.

D’var Torah Graphic Organizer

d'var torah graphic organizer thumbnail

Graphic organizers allow learners to visually organize known information. This graphic organizer can be used to help a bar/bat mitzvah student write a d’var Torah. It prompts the student with questions presented in logical sequence about the Torah portion itself as well as the student’s understanding of the portion.

For the Day of the Service

Sample B’nei Mitzvah Schedule

When students know what to expect on the day of their b’nei mitzvah, it can reduce their anxiety and help keep them on track.

B’nei Mitzvah Expected Behaviors

Students sometimes need reminders of behavior that is expected in synagogue.  This is a sample template of a list that can be used to prompt them to follow the expected behaviors. 

Other Resources for Clergy

Consultation

You can work directly with a Gateways coach to make your synagogue’s b’nei mitzvah program more inclusive and accessible. Discover our customizable coaching and consultation options.

Educators smiling at a workshop

Inclusive B’nei Mitzvah 101: Begin the Process

Self-reflection questions for clergy to help you get started in your inclusive B’nei Mitzvah journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (Clergy)

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