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              Bar/Batmitzvah Program

The Basics

A Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be held at the Synagogue on a Saturday morning. A Batmitzvah can alternatively  be held on a Friday night.

A boy can have his Barmitzvah any time after his 13th Hebrew birthday.

A girl usually has her Batmitzvah after her 12th Hebrew birthday, but this is flexible.

If you are unsure of your child’s Hebrew birthday try this link to find out. Otherwise we can look into it for you.


Our requirements

Rabbi Gestetner is available to prepare your child for his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Rabbi Gestetner will tell you what portion or Parashah corresponds to the date of your child’s simchah and therefore what portion a boy may be reading from the Torah scroll. 

If you want to try and work this out for yourself try this link  A course of lessons will be required to teach your child what will be required of him/her on the day. We have devised a special Coogee Bar/batmitzvah book which Rabbi Gestetner will work through with your child. There is a charge for these lessons.

Depending on your child's level of Hebrew reading, the number of lessons with the rabbi will vary. For those who are less proficient in Hebrew (or are unable to read at all), it is essential that lessons commence at least 12 months prior to the bar/batmitzvah so that sufficient time can be dedicated to your child's development to the language and therefor be fully prepared for their big day.

In addition the Synagogue runs a “First Sunday of the month Brunch with the Rabbi”. This a series of informal opportunities for you and your child to sit down for brunch with Rabbi Gestetner and other bat/batmitzvah kids and their families. It’s a chance to get to know other families in the area. This is an invaluable learning opportunity for bnei/bnot mitzvah to learn more about their Jewish heritage and traditions in an informal setting. At many sessions, games and craft activities are experienced to make learning fun. 

It is expected that your child will attend these classes each 1st Sunday of the month for at least the 6 months before his/her bar/Batmitzvah. There is no charge for these sessions which start at 9am include a breakfast rich in bagels smoked salmon and coffee – juice for the kids! They are held the first Sunday of every month throughout the year except during NSW public school holidays.

Boys (and if possible their Fathers) are expected to attend the pre-breakfast Shacharit service which starts  at 8am. Boys and Dads learn how to put on Tefillin – there are spare Tefillin sets in Synagogue, if you don’t have one, and plenty of people who were once novices like you and are willing to show you how it’s done.

We want you and your family to appreciate the Bar/Batmitzvah of your child as a ‘right of passage’. We believe it is the opening steps to a lifetime of learning. Part of the learning experience is to familiarise your child with the workings of the Synagogue and the Synagogue service. We require that your child attends at least 4 Friday night and 6 Shabbat Saturday morning services at Coogee in the 6 months lead up to his/her Bar/Batmitzvah. When Rabbi Gestetner sees your child for his/her lesson the Synagogue attendance sheet will be marked off in the Coogee Bar/Batmitzvah book.

As part of the preparation for your special day it is always a good idea to attend another bar/batmitzvah at Coogee before your own so you know what to expect



In preparation for the day

The family is able to honour male family members and close friends by offering then a call up. If you chose to do this it is customary to make a donation to the Synagogue on behalf of your guests – you can ‘buy the bimah’ or suggest your guests to donate individually in honour of the Barmitzvah boy/ Batmitzvah girl.

It has become customary to shower the Bar/Batmitzvah child with lollies in order to commemorate this sweet occasion in the child’s life. We ask that you deliver to the Synagogue, by the Thursday preceding the Shabbat, two large packets of wrapped soft chew lollies ONLY –hard ones can become dangerous missiles! These will placed in baskets and distributed to the ladies during the service.

The family provides a Kiddush after the service for the Synagogue congregation and their invited guests. Our Ladies Auxiliary headed by Monica Foltyn can help you with organising this. The other option is to bring in an outside kosher caterer licensed by the NSW Kashrut Authority, Kosher Australia or Community Kashrut. A list of approved caterers is available from Lisa or Rabbi Gestetner. 


On a Saturday morning the Synagogue provides security guards as part of the CSG. The family needs to pay for one security guard. A guest list will be required for our security team to check in your guests. Please fax or email this to Lisa by 5pm on the Thursday before the Shabbat of your simchah to guarantee a hassle free entry to the Synagogue for everyone. You and your guests safety is paramount.


A Bat Mitzvah can also be held on a Friday night. The Friday night Kiddush is a more simple affair where only wine, grape juice and whisky are handed round. You will be asked to contribute to this so we can adequately cater for your family and friends. These items will need to be delivered to the Synagogue by 5pm on the Thursday before your simchah – please call Lisa to arrange the drop off.

To book a Bar/ Bat Mitzvah please contact Lisa on 9315 8291 to reserve a date.
Alternatively you can contact

Remember that your bar/batmitzvah is the beginning of your life's journey, not the end. Enjoy it and embrace it together with us at Coogee. 


Sun, 14 April 2024 6 Nisan 5784