Full Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation Course

Synagogues and Hebrew schools often offer excellent Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation classes. But they don't work for everyone. Maybe you live in a small community without a rabbi. Or your child is heavily involved in other extra-curricular activities and cannot fit the rabbi's lessons into the weekly schedule. Or you want to do things your own way and the congregational options aren't adaptable.
 

The full Nachas prep course takes 6-18 months to complete, depending on student background, learning style, and goals. Students will arrive at Bar/Bat Mitzvah date with not only knowledge, but comfort and confidence. If the family wants to do a non-congregational service, then Nachas can help design and lead that service in person.

Since each student's and family's needs are unique, there are no set requirements. Nothing is ever etched in stone (other than those 10 commandments you may have heard about)! Students typically chant the Maftir ​(concluding reading directly from the Torah) and Haftarah (corresponding reading from the Prophets), give a d'var Torah (talk that relates something from the reading to their own lives), and lead some portion of the service. If they want to tackle more, we can make that happen. If they want to limit what they take on, we can focus on one or another part of the curriculum. It's up to you!

We work together to personalize each student's curriculum. Here are a couple of samples:

 

New Hebrew Learner: 9-18 months of weekly lessons

  • ​Phonetic reading, starting with recognition of letters and vowels​, moving onto reading of both modern and biblical Hebrew

  • Learning and practicing major blessings and prayers that the student will recite at the service, including:

    • Torah aliyah ("Barchu")​

    • Sh'ma Yisrael

    • Kiddush

  • Discussion (in English) of the text of the week's Torah portion and Haftarah​

    • Aim is to find meaningful connections between the text and the student's personal priorities​

    • Student works with tutor to draft a d'var Torah to share with the congregation as part of the service

  • Basic trop for both Torah reading and Haftarah

    • Student learns from a combination of recognition of the symbols, listening to a recording of the portion, and repetition in lessons​

  • Maftir and Haftarah 

    • The student, parents, and tutor (in consultation, where relevant, with the family's synagogue) determine what and how much material to tackle

    • The ​exact sections and number of verses the student chants will be decided in the course of the lessons

  • Designing and rehearsing the actual service, including the d'var Torah

Experienced Hebrew Reader: 6-12 months of weekly lessons

  • Focus on prayers and blessings, trop (Torah and Haftarah), and d'var Torah

  • Student (and parents) choose which parts of the service to lead

    • Torah service

    • Shacharit, the main morning service​

    • Musaf, the additional service after the Torah reading is complete

  • Student learns trop using both the Torah melody and the Haftarah melody​

    • Recordings are provided, but the goal is to learn to associate the various symbols with their melodies​

    • The student, tutor, and parents (with input, if necessary, from the congregation) chooses how many verses to learn for the bar/bat mitzvah service

  • Student works with the tutor to look for insights from the Torah and Prophetic readings ​

    • D'var Torah ​will reflect an issue that matters to the student

    • Student might choose a long-term project based around an aspect of the reading, which would then be tied together at the actual bar/bat mitzvah service