How will your son's bar mitzvah preparation take place? This is a question rarely asked in the past, but now, you have options for tutoring.
You’ve been thinking about the Big Day ever since your son was born. Suddenly — because he grew up so very fast! — he’s about to be a teenager. Now, instead of hovering somewhere in the far-off future, his Bar Mitzvah is right around the corner. You want your son to make himself — and you, his parents — very proud. You are confident he can succeed. But you also understand that he’s got a lot to learn. And you have many questions about how to make sure he’s ready.
So — take a deep breath! You’ve come to the right place. After you’ve read this post, I hope you will feel much more confident about your son’s Bar Mitzvah preparation. One way or another — whether his preparation takes place at a synagogue near you or remotely through The Bar Mitzvah Prep School, he will be ready. He will know the basics about what it means to be Jewish; he will appreciate the great significance of this time in his life; and he will be able to successfully take on the exciting challenges of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony itself.
The first decision you and your son must make is where and how his Bar Mitzvah preparation will take place. This is a question that was rarely asked in the past, because traditionally, there were few, if any, alternatives to preparing for Bar Mitzvah with a rabbi or cantor in a local synagogue, most often as part of a class that meets weekly over a certain period.
Traditional preparation methods have certain advantages, including the support of a community and the opportunity to work with a rabbi or cantor who you and your son may already know. However, it may require families to have been members of the synagogue for several years. There will be fees associated with training and for the use of the building. And his preparation must take place at a certain place and at a certain time, each week.
Fortunately, changing times and advances in technology have created another option: one that is not limited by geography or scheduling; one that meets the needs of today’s families, who are more mobile — and seemingly much busier — than ever before. Introducing: remote bar mitzvah tutoring. This option is also a fit for families who may be unaffiliated with a synagogue or parents whose own Bar MItzvah experience with their synagogue was less than ideal. Whatever the reason, there are many families for whom remote tutoring is the right choice. I believe every Jew should have the opportunity to have a Bar Mitzvah and I am gratified to be able to offer this service to them.
With our virtual format, your son can enjoy the lessons when it suits his schedule and when he’s at his best. Each lesson uses “kitchen table speak” and simple, real-world examples to keep your son engaged — always encouraging him to think about, talk about, and apply those lessons in his own life.
It’s important to note that there are two aspects to Bar Mitzvah preparation. There is the “technical” component, which includes learning how to read Hebrew, reading the Torah, speech preparation, etc. When boys only engage in this component it often leads to them being Bar Mitzvahed out of Judaism. The monotony of practicing and reading something they cannot relate becomes a burden they resent and never want to return to. This may have even been your experience. I have had many conversations with people who won’t return to synagogue or enroll their children because this was their experience.
This is why the second tutoring aspect is crucial. This is the learning about what Judaism is, what it means to be a Jew and how relevant it is even in our modern world. I believe this second component — learning about being Jewish — is not only important for your son as he moves forward in life, it will also give him context and interest with the technical preparations.
This is why we created the Bar Mitzvah Prep School. The online course which I teach focuses on select subjects, carefully honed so they’re presented in a way that speaks to a 12-year-old boy with relevance and motivation. Our course curriculum aligns with what has been used for centuries to prepare young men for their Bar Mitzvahs; however, the language we use is contemporary and designed to resonate with young boys and address questions that often go unasked by them.
Each lesson is designed to guide students through a simple experience that spotlights Judaism as a deep, rich, and relevant gift. You can see a complete list of topics, watch me deliver a lesson, and have more of your questions answered here. You only pay for the training your son receives — there are no membership and building fees to worry about — and no commuting back and forth to a synagogue!
Coupled with the course, we have an expert and experienced tutor to help your son with the technical training for his service or ceremony. If I put myself in the shoes of a parent who is looking for an outside Bar Mitzvah tutor for his or her son, I know I would want my son to work with someone who is knowledgeable, personable, and firm. These are qualities necessary in a tutor who will ensure your son is motivated to learn and held accountable to his weekly instruction. That is the kind of tutor your son can expect from BMPS.
I’m happy to answer any questions that you or your son has about the lessons, the journey to Bar Mitzvah, or anything else you would like to discuss. Let’s start the conversation!