Be’er Sheva, Israel’s ornate Pyramid Synagogue hosted a joint bar mitzvah ceremony for dozens of public school students, replete with a choral performance setting the tone.

After the celebration, which was organized by the city’s Chabad-Lubavitch Center, the students danced through the pews together.

Rabbi Zalman Gorelik, director of the Chabad House, explained that the synagogue was chosen for its unique design: The synagogue has four entrances, symbolizing the four open sides of biblical patriarch Abraham’s tent. The location was fitting, he said, because a bar mitzvah is every Jewish boy’s birthright.

“The school wanted to do something special for these boys,” said Gorelik. “They donned tefillin and were called to the Torah for the first time.”

Some of the boys, who had been trained by the Chabad House’s Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Slavin, even read a little bit from the Torah.

At the end of the Torah reading, the boys’ female classmates threw candies at them from behind a prayer divider known as a mechitzah.

The Be’er Sheva Chabad House regularly organizes similar joint celebrations under the auspices of its Bar and Bat Mitzvah Institute. About every three months, groups of 20 children go to the Western Wall in Jerusalem to celebrate their reaching Judaism’s age of majority.

“In the past 13 years,” said Gorelik, “more than 1,000 children have prepared for their lives as Jewish adults here.”