- Will Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah lessons add stress to my child’s already demanding academic itinerary?
We customize to alleviate stress for academically pressured children. Additionally, we will share specific strategies with you and your child that help to smoothly, and joyfully, integrate the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah prep work into his or her daily flow.
- How do you handle children who are on Individualized Education Programs (IEP) at their school?
We consider each one of our students unique and brilliant, and some also have areas of pronounced challenge. We have worked with attention deficit, shyness and sensitivity, oppositional temperament, reading challenges, students who are on the “spectrum” and those who are “twice exceptional”.
Our faculty includes a special education teacher as well as a social worker. We tailor the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah instruction to our students’ strengths, interests, and their desire for rapport and affirmation.
We customize the ceremony as well to embrace the student's personality as much as possible, especially for those who are extra shy and/or possess reading challenges. We take pride in having skillfully tailored Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah prep to match each student's strengths and areas of challenge.
- Is mastery of Hebrew required?
Hebrew reading instruction is recommended, though optional. We will assess your child’s comfort with new language acquisition and decide in consultation with you, and with your son or daughter, on the appropriate Hebrew instruction level, if any. Our guiding principle is always to present our students with a meaningful level of challenge that would produce in the end a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Will our Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah service include music?
The Rabbi will enrich the service with guitar and songs. You will have the option to have a professional song leader/cantor in addition to our Rabbi. We highly recommend the additional cantor when your guest list exceeds fifty people.
- Will our Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah ceremony include people we do not know, as is common at synagogue services?
Your ceremony is entirely under your control, at the location of your choice, and with the people near and dear to you and to your child. When another simple.meaningful family will ask to pre-experience a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah ceremony, we will ask your permission first, which you may accept or decline no questions asked.
- On which days of the week are Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies held?
Jewish tradition designates Saturday mornings or afternoons, and Monday or Thursday mornings for ceremonies that involve reading from an open Torah scroll. There are fascinating historical reasons for this - a discussion for another time. Most families choose a Saturday morning of late afternoon, while some choose a Monday morning on the extended weekend of a National Holiday, such as Columbus Day, Memorial Day, etc..
- Will our service have a real Torah scroll and prayer books?
Yes. We will provide a full-size authentic Torah scroll. We will also provide you with a master copy of a prayer booklet, of which you will print and bind multiple copies for your guests. You will also have the option of customizing your ceremony prayer booklet with photos, art, a unique cover and more. Many families enjoy this option.
- Will our relatives and guests come up for an Aliya (up-close witnessing of the reading from the open Torah scroll)?
Yes, this is very common. You will suggest whom amongst your guests you would like to honor with an Aliya. Group Aliyas are a great option too, allowing multiple guests to participate together. You may wish to limit the numbers of honorees as well. We discuss this part of the ceremony in detail during planning.
- Is community membership required for Simple.Meaningful Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah?
No. It would be our pleasure and honor to help your family prepare for, and celebrate, a very special Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah, no membership strings attached.
- What then is Hebrew Learning Circles?
We are an innovative Jewish educational community and a not-for-profit organization. simple.meaningful Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah is one of our programs. Our mission is to provide Jewish learning, culture, and spirituality for the independent Jewish and interfaith family through education, celebration, and commemoration.
We believe that affiliation is only of value when voluntary, and especially when it is responsive to your real practical, emotional, or spiritual needs. Please feel free to explore our website. After the ceremony, should you be interested, we can discuss the option of your affiliation with Hebrew Learning Circles. We want you to be you!
- Can you accommodate our child's busy and often shifting school and sports schedule?
- Can we have the ceremony and the reception/party at the same site?
Yes, absolutely. You may choose to have the ceremony at your home (or backyard), at a catering hall, a restaurant, or at one of the synagogues that host our events. Most families hold the reception and party at the same location. The logistics are not complicated. Catering halls, restaurants, and synagogues are set up to accommodate a ceremony-meal-party sequence.
- We have a packed schedule of daily extracurricular appointments. How much additional driving can we expect?
Most meetings can take place at your home or on Zoom. simple.meaningful Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is actually very convenient.