A Q&A with Arthur and Inna

I recently sat down with a student and his mother to discuss the Bar Mitzvah Prep School course.

I love learning more about what students and families think about my lessons – and the unique way they apply those lessons in their lives. The feedback they share with me will continue to help me enhance the services I provide to families as they prepare for Bar Mitzvah.

I recently sat down with Inna and her son Arthur, who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in late 2021, to hear their insights about Arthur’s experience with the Bar Mitzvah Prep School program. Both mom and son were still glowing from a fantastic celebration, but also eager to spotlight the impact of the lessons, particularly how they connected Arthur to his Jewish roots.

Here’s what they shared…

Why you decide to sign Arthur up for The Bar Mitzvah Prep School?

INNA: As with many things in life, the pandemic pushed us to seek alternative options for Bar Mitzvah preparation, because in-person lessons were not available. Even though we don’t fully practice Judaism in our house, my Jewish roots are very important to me – and I wanted Arthur to have the opportunity to learn more about his heritage. I was born in Russia, and growing up, my family wasn’t allowed to practice our faith. My grandfather spoke Yiddish and practiced in private. There was a passion in my family for keeping our roots alive – no matter what.

I travelled to Israel twice – which gifted me with experiences that continue to impact my life today – and I wanted the same for my oldest son and for Arthur. And, of course, a good Bar Mitzvah prep program can help lay a solid foundation for a continuing exploration of our Jewish roots.

So, I was very excited to learn about the Bar Mitzvah Prep School, and to have a great option that would allow Arthur to build this foundation before our family celebration.

What did you like best about the program?

ARTHUR: I appreciated the ability to watch the lessons on my own time. Sometimes, I took lessons in the morning, and other days, the afternoon or evening worked better. This flexibility meant that I could choose times when I felt relaxed and able to focus fully on the lesson.

INNA: Setting our own schedule allowed me to watch some of the lessons with Arthur, and I learned a lot too! 

Can you share any special family discussions that happened following the lessons?

INNA: The lessons definitely reminded me of the positive influence of Judaism in my life – and some powerful memories tied to my Jewish roots in Russia. Sharing those memories with my sons has been, and will continue to be, meaningful for our family. 

ARTHUR: Each lesson wraps up with a test, and sometimes my mom and I would go back to the video to figure out an answer. The ability to re-watch certain parts of the lessons was not only convenient, but also engaging, because we would talk even more about the concepts from every lesson.

What were the lessons that meant the most to you?

ARTHUR: One lesson relayed a great analogy about an athlete to spotlight the importance of Shabbat for our day of rest. Even though an athlete trains most days to reach their goals, they still need set times to rest and restore their body. Shabbat does the same thing for our spirit. 

INNA: Each lesson uses simple life situations and examples that are easy for young adults to understand. And for the parents too! As an example, I was eager to understand the process of – and the meaning behind – Shabbat. With everything going on in the world, the concept of taking the time every week to focus on family and the things you care about feels more important than ever, so I particularly enjoyed the lesson focused on Shabbat.

Did the program help build excitement for your upcoming celebration – and a better understanding of what this time in your life means?

ARTHUR: Absolutely! I enjoyed learning more about Judaism and how its teachings and traditions can help guide me in my relationships and life choices. I also feel that I have a better sense of who I am; my Jewish roots have always been important to me, but now I understand those roots better – and that truly made the time leading up to my Bar Mitzvah memorable, exciting, and tied to lessons I will use my whole life.

In addition to completing the Bar Mitzvah Prep School program, Arthur also studied with our Rabbinic tutor – and learned how to read Hebrew from scratch and how to recite Hebrew prayers for his service. Interested in A-Z Bar Mitzvah preparation? Learn more here.


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