B Mitzvah students learn to chant
from SCJ’s own Torah Scroll,
which is over 100 years old,
adding to their understanding
of their place in the continuum
of Jewish life through the ages.

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about our B Mitzvah program . . .

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B Mitzvah

the centerpiece of SCJ’s curriculum

B Mitzvah preparation focuses on Jewish tools ~ preparing for the ceremony itself ~ and Jewish knowledge ~ an intellectual exploration of Judaism, stemming from the Torah portion, culminating in the writing of the Dvar Torah (literally words of Torah).  The family takes an active role in the cultural and spiritual exploration, while the B Mitzvah engages in a Mitzvah project focusing on social justice.

During the typical study period of 9-12 months, each student learns to read & write Hebrew, recite blessings and prayers, and chant from the Torah (and sometimes Haftarah as well).  SCJ has developed a personalized method of learning the musical language of the Torah, known as Trope (cantillation), through which students acquire a life-long skill that enables them to chant any passage.

Students emerge from their studies prepared for the ceremony, confident in their skills, and with a positive view of the experience ~ the unfortunate antithesis of how many experienced their own B Mitzvah preparations.


Alongside the standard studying for my Torah portion, we spent entire appointments talking about things wholly different from your run-of-the-mill B Mitzvah experience – from reading Yiddish poetry and dabbling in modern Hebrew to learning Jewish history and discussing the culture and politics of Israel. The B Mitzvah itself was the defining moment in which I finally came to the realization that I was fully embracing Judaism.

—Tim (student)

We had A LOT of fun. It really wasn’t like any of the other Hebrew schools I’d tried, and we really have some fond memories. It was a great experience.

—Julia (student)

“My twins were taught to think critically, to question concepts and lessons in the Bible in order to develop their own understanding of Judaism. They were very well prepared for their B’nai Mitzvah which was a lively, joyous, spiritual and loving event. It was even more moving and meaningful than I had expected. But perhaps the thing I loved most about their years of training and study with Misha was their relationship with him. In effect, he watched them grow up, and out of that came a very special warmth and closeness between them.”

—Elizabeth (parent)