After Your Bar Mitzvah

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


"After your Bar Mitzvah you don't have to go to Religious School anymore."


I don't remember this happening when I was that age. Maybe it did. Although I was a part of a 10th grade Confirmation class of more than 20 so I am guessing not. This is a huge thing where we belong.

Yael was one of two Bnai Mitzvahs to attend after their big day. It has been about the same for some time at our synagogue.  I thought it was a synagogue thing. Then I thought it was a Conservative Judaism thing. Then I asked Google.


It seems it is not local or just a concern for Conservative Jews. It is in all branches of Judaism and it has been for quite a while. The first article I found quoted earlier warnings from the 1930's and 40's.
Several of these are scholarly works, so expect to spend some time with them:

Supplementary Schooling and the Law of Unanticipated Consequences

When Bar/Bat Mitzvah Loses Meaning

The Bar Mitzvah Phenomenon

and

Preventing Post B’nai Mitzvah Dropout-itis

Preventing Dropout-itis is separate because it looks hard at solutions.


The suggestions:


Start early - Congregations with Early Childhood programs have fewer drop outs.


Jewish Friends - Children want to be where their friends are. Given that the girls have no friends that cross over form secular school to religious school, this will be tough.


A congregational mantra of you will attend - difficult when many of the parents do not attend functions past pre-school.


Family Education Programs - I am assuming this mean programs that bridge the gap between 3 year olds and 70 year olds.


Students are active participants in the congregation - CRC a congregation with about 50 Bnai Mitzvot a year requires post Bnai Mitzvot service participation. Almost all of their students stay to the 10th grade.