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Bar Mitzvah Preparation Circles
For the Jewish pre-teen the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah is a ceremony celebrating the coming of age of the Bar Mitzvah child, entering into the world of Jewish adulthood. The process of preparing the Bar Mitzvah child incorporates a variety of aspects: strengthening the Bar Mitzvah child’s emotional and mental Jewish roots, Bar Mitzvah tutoring in the actual ceremonial skills, and preparation for life as a meaningfully engaged Jewish adult.
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Preparation Approaches
There are two common approaches to Bar Mitzvah tutoring:
- The mainstream synagogue approach, where the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah students gather in a central location to study together.
- The private approach by which each Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah child is tutored individually in his or her home. Instruction in this case can also be delivered by means of video conferencing with the designated Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah tutor. Each of these approaches presents unique advantages. The centralized group meetings for Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah children provides the experience that may later lead to active institutional community participation. The individual track allows for an experience that is personal and carefully tailored to the individual student. This allows each Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah child and family to reach his or her highest learning potential while ensuring a positive learning experience.
A Hebrew Learning Circle is a hybrid combining the advantages of both approaches. Bar Mitzvah Circles combine personal mentorship in keeping with the private Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah approach integrated with the group approach as Circles meet in the home setting enhancing the communal aspect, albeit intimate and tightknit.
Bar Mitzvah Track Objectives and Content
For a tree to blossom, it needs roots. Just like a tree, positive identity and value development needs roots as well. The Bar Mitzvah child may start his or her Learning Circle experience at an earlier or later age. Regardless of when a child enters the process the task of helping him or her set deep roots into the Jewish cultural soil is paramount in order to allow his or her “identity tree” to grow strong.
At the early stages of the Bar Mitzvah tutoring track, the roots are set:
- Hebrew reading.
- Ceremonial skills.
- Jewish textual skills.
- Jewish heroes, heroines and their stories.
- Holiday observances.
- Familiarity with the Jewish calendar.
- Jewish skills, actions and ethics.
With the roots set, the actual preparation for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony can take place. The Bar Mitzvah child acquires the skills necessary for delivering a D'var Torah (speech), chanting from the Torah and/or Haftorah and leading prayers, such as the Sh'ma and other selected prayers.
The Bar Mitzvah Learning Circle curriculum is not limited to acquiring ceremonial skills. The program additionally prepares the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah child to take his or her place as an adult in the Jewish community. Jewish adult privileges and responsibilities are discussed as well as Jewish identity and the child’s place in the community. A special emphasis is directed towards sensitivity to social justice through requiring the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah child to engage in a Mitzvah project (community service) of choice.
Bar Mitzvah Circles Instructional Method
The Circle meetings are held in one of the Bar Mitzvah participating families homes, each following a carefully structured lesson plan. The Bar Mitzvah Circle begins with a Hebrew song, followed by a short instructional session in Hebrew reading or ceremonial skills. The major part of the Bar Mitzvah meeting is dedicated to a Judaica theme: texts and stories, holidays, values and concepts. The conclusion of the Bar Mitzvah Circle is held again with a Hebrew song.
Each one of the Bar Mitzvah Circle meetings lasts 90 minutes, once or twice a week. The private Bar Mitzvah mentorship can last 60 or 90 minutes and is held in the home, at the Hebrew Learning Circles’ office or by video conference (Skype, Face Time, AIM).
Bar Mitzvah Tutors
Hebrew Learning Circles are a home-schooling and Hebrew-school hybrid that meets after regular school hours. Bar Mitzvah Circles meet weekly, but are not bound by a common calendar. Each Bar Mitzvah tutor and participating family(ies) determine independently the length and frequency of its sessions.
Bar Mitzvah tutors are continually in training to improve teaching skills and are supervised by our educational director to ensure delivery of a high quality Jewish educational experience based on a carefully crafted curriculum, and a high level of professional excellence.
Bar Mitzvah tutoring in New York with the Learning Circles approach ensures high quality instruction, small sized Circles (7 students maximum) and a comfortable home environment that contributes to this unique educational experience.