Bar/Bat Mitzvah Booking Policy
Lower Merion Synagogue is fortunate to have so many families who want to celebrate their simchas as a community. As we grow, there is likelihood that multiple families will request the same date for their simcha. After extended discussions by the Catering Committee, the Executive Committee and the Board, this policy was put into place in an effort to equitably and objectively determine who has priority for date confirmation.
To request a date for your simcha, please call the shul office no more than three years in advance. You must be a member in good standing to request a reservation and the following guidelines will apply:
1. Dates may be requested up to three years in advance of the simcha by calling the Synagogue office. Reservations will NOT be accepted more than three years in advance. All requested reservations must be accompanied by a nonrefundable deposit which shall be applied to any facility rentals or fees.
2. Multiple reservations will be accepted for the same date until 18 months in advance. If there are no conflicts, that family will have their date confirmed 18 months in advance and the Shul and Social Hall will be reserved for them, and the Gabbaim will be informed by the Shul office.
3. Families that make reservations less than 18 months in advance of the requested Shabbat will be handled on a “first to reserve” basis and will only be able to select weeks where there is no conflict (i.e. they may not “bump” a family who already has reserved by applying the conflict resolution procedures below).
4. In the event of a conflict (requests for the same date made between 36 and 18 months), the following procedures shall apply:
a. In the event of a conflict, the synagogue shall contact each family approximately 18 months prior to the event to determine if they are agreeable to holding their celebrations on the same Shabbat, and every effort will be made to try and help work out conflicts. If the families are not agreeable to sharing their celebrations in the same minyan, the option of participating in an alternate minyan will be offered with a joint Kiddush in the Social Hall;
b. Mediation will be performed by the Executive Director and the President;
c. Full members will have priority over Associate members;
d. If a second family requests celebrating a simcha less than 18 months from an event, and another family have already secured the requested date, the family who has already secured the date has priority.
5. If the families are not agreeable to sharing a Bar/Bat Mitzvah/Simcha date in the same or differing minyanim, preference shall be given in the following order:
a. A Bar Mitzvah boy whose Hebrew birthday falls on or within the week preceding the requested Shabbat shall be given preference over a Bar Mitzvah whose Hebrew birthday does not fall within that week and shall have preference over a Bat Mitzvah.
b. A Bat Mitzvah whose Hebrew birthday falls on or within the week preceding the requested Shabbat shall take precedence over a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that does not fall within that week.
c. If two Bar Mitzvah boys have their Hebrew birthday on the same week and a conflict cannot be resolved, there shall be a lottery conducted by the Executive Director and the President. Lots will be drawn to determine who has priority. The same policy shall apply if the conflict is between two girls. However, if the conflict is between a boy and a girl with Hebrew birthdays occurring during the same week, the boy shall take preference.
d. If the conflict is between children celebrating their Bat/Bar Mitzvah in a week that is not related to their Hebrew Birthday (e.g. Birthday is Parshat Shemot and family wants Parshat Yitro for the celebration), preference shall be given to the child whose celebration is closest to the actual week of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. A Bat Mitzvah is defined as a girl reaching the age of 12. In the event two children have an equal distance (by week) to the requested date, there shall be a lottery conducted by the Executive Director and the President.
6. The family that receives “priority” for a given Shabbat will be able to choose to read the Torah and Haftorah as well as have undesignated Aliyot (as determined by the Gabbaim) in the minyan of their choice on Shabbat, and will also have the option of reserving the Social Hall and kitchen for the weekend. The family(ies) that do not receive “priority” may still receive an Aliyah in the main sanctuary on Shabbat or in any of the other minyanim on Shabbat as determined by the Gabbaim.
7. Interpretation and implementation of this policy shall be made by the Executive Director and President. Equitable consideration in selection of another date shall be given to families who agree to move their Bar/Bat Mitzvah to another date to avoid a conflict with another Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
8. In the event that an Aufruf occurs on a Shabbat already scheduled for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, priority will go to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah for the Social Hall Kiddush. If the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family consents, the family celebrating the Aufruf shall be offered joint sponsorship of the Kiddush.
Enacted by the LMS Board of Directors on January, 17, 2011