Once you’ve been through a bar or bat mitzvah, you’re an old hand.
Although the Orthodox community is committed to the existing ketubah document, whose language comes from the Mishnah, Blau said he has no problem with a bride and a groom making additional agreements and commitments, as long as they do not controvert Jewish law.
Some things never change, or do they? Bar and bat mitzvah parties overwhelmingly follow a recipe that everyone assumes is written in stone, said Gail Greenberg, creator of mitzvahchic.com. The only room for creativity, people think, is to have a unique theme.
The bar and bat mitzvah is traditionally viewed as an entry point into the adult Jewish community, but for many, it's also seen as the door out of both Jewish education and the synagogue. For those who become congregants, Los Angeles synagogues are trying to help b'nai mitzvah students and families understand that the ceremony and its preparation symbolize one point on a continuum of Jewish life and learning. Their goal is to strengthen the communal ties of their marginally committed congregants.
Many Reform Jews express their connection with the divine through social action and tikkun olam, fixing God's world. While all of these are also part of my own life as a Jew, it is study that nourishes my rationalist-traditionalist soul and links me to another realm.
Being a bar/bat mitzvah tutor can be a little dangerous. Parents expect you to be a wizard. The synagogues are suspicious if you want to fiddle with their "perfect bar mitzvah" product. And then there's the kids, who are becoming full-blown teenagers. It's not always emotionally easy -- in sometimes surprising ways.