Bar/Bat Mitzvah Study

The process of preparing for the Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah takes place along two parallel plains. Classes are divided between Jewish tools and Jewish knowledge, the former consisting of the practicalities of the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah ceremony, and the latter of an intellectual exploration of Judaism, stemming from the Torah portion. This process culminates in the writing of the Dvar Torah, or Bar/Bat Mitzvah speech. The family works together to define parts of the curriculum, as well as to take an active part in the cultural and spiritual exploration, while the Bat/Bar Mitzvah engages in a social justice, or Mitzvah project.In as short a period as nine months to a year students will learn how to read and write Hebrew, how to recite blessings and prayers, and how to chant from both the Torah and the Haftarah. Many of my students’ parents tell me of their oftentimes dull experience learning their Bar/Bat Mitzvah Torah portion from a recording of their rabbi. SCJ students also receive a recording of their portion, however, this only happens after they have learned the keys to figuring it out on their own. We have developed a personalized method of learning the musical language of the Torah, known as Trop. Students create their own names for each musical sign. They practice singing their newly named trops on English phrases, and then move on to working on figuring out the correct chanting for passages from the Torah. When they come to learning their Torah portion, they are able to figure out the chanting on their own. Instead of learning through memorization, students acquire a life-long skill, which enables them to chant any passage from the Torah or Haftarah. This skill can be honed into a teaching skill as well; one of SCJ’s goals is for former Bnai Mitzvah students to teach younger SCJ students the Hebrew and Trops.

Click here for a full description of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process, including timeline, costs, etc

“…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 Eisen