Preparation for the Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah ceremony is an opportunity to provide high quality Jewish education along with initiating the child into her status as a treasured member of the adult Jewish community. Hebrew learning Circles provides a unique learning experience set in the home environment. Bat Mitzvah families participating in a Learning Circle engage in a vitally active learning community while also benefitting from a personalized approach to Bat Mitzvah tutoring in New York and internationally. The Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah Learning Circles Approach.
The “Circle” as metaphor offers a number of useful symbolic connotations: the “cycle of life” itself leading through major lifecycle events such as birth, Bat Mitzvah, wedding, etc.; the “affinity circles” that an individual belongs to - self, friends, family, community, religion, nationality; “geometric circle” as symbol of equality, respect and communication.
Bat Mitzvah Learning Circles encompasses all of the above. In the Bat Mitzvah learning Circles, the students sit in a home environment, around the dining room table or lounging in the living room, facing each other. This very setting converges some of the Bat Mitzvah child’s organic circles: family, community and religion. Integrating these circles to create a context for Bat Mitzvah tutoring results in a private Bat Mitzvah ceremony that is well linked to the child’s larger circles: community, history, identity and more.
BAT MITZVAH TUTORS AND THE LEARNING CIRCLES APPROACH
Each Bat Mitzvah child comes with a different amount of knowledge and background, each requires a unique approach to get the most out of the learning experience. The Bat Mitzvah learning Circles are combined with private mentoring, allowing each Bat Mitzvah to be part of something bigger while at the same time benefitting from the opportunity to advance in her training in her own pace and receive individual attention. The Bat Mitzvah Circles follow a carefully designed curriculum conducted by instructors that are trained and supervised. The Hebrew Learning Circle is structured to deliver a high quality Jewish educational experience based on a superb level of professional excellence. Each Circle is independent of the other Circles in the Hebrew Learning Circles network. Circles meet once or twice a week and each Circle determines the length and frequency of its sessions. Thus each Circle is run as a parent and student learning cooperative. One parent acts as the Circle's coordinator, the contact point with the Bat Mitzvah Circle instructor and the Hebrew Learning Circles office. The curriculum of the Bat Mitzvah Circle can be adapted and changed to fit the specific educational goals and needs of each Circle. Such changes are discussed and decided upon in a meeting of the parents, the instructor and Rabbi in an open and cooperative spirit. A Bat Mitzvah tutor will carry out the private mentoring sessions in the student’s home, our main office or through video conferencing. The Bat Mitzvah mentoring sessions are supervised by our Rabbi while tutors are trained in the same student centered approach as the Circle instructors.
CONTENT OF THE BAT MITZVAH LEARNING CIRCLES
The Bat Mitzvah Learning Circles provide a unique opportunity to concentrate on different aspects of Jewish life. The Tree-Tops Circles (Amirim) provides a deep plunge into Jewish culture, history and the Hebrew language. The Bat Mitzvah child explores topics such as Hebrew reading skills, identity, ethics, Jewish history and stories about Jewish heroines and heroes.
The private mentoring sessions help the Bat Mitzvah child accomplish her ceremony-specific assignments, such as chanting from the Torah and/or Haftorah, composing a D'var Torah (speech), leading the assembly in theSh'ma and other selected prayers. The mentor also guides the child in choosing and implementing her Mitzvah project (community service). Bat Mitzvah tutoring typically includes both the Learning Circle experience and a period of private mentoring.
Additional Bat Mitzvah learning Circles provide the Bat Mitzvah child and parents with the opportunity to seek answers, develop tools, and find growing meaning in Judaism within the Family Learning Circle (Mishpaha), or partake in a post Bat Mitzvah, Eagles Learning Circle (Nesharim) to explore additional areas of interest or deepen their already acquired Hebrew and other skills.