If you are Jewish and your family is talking about Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you know it can be a dizzying experience!
Here are 4 ways NYC children can become Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Have a 13th birthday. That’s right. All you really have to do to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is turn 13. That is because Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah is a status: it is something you automatically become on your 13th birthday the same way you automatically become a teenager. You just do. And so, if you are Jewish, you automatically become a son or a daughter of the commandments – the mitzvot. You are now responsible for your own actions in the Jewish community and the community at large. Mazal Tov.
One-on-one learning with a rabbi or cantor.
If you decide to engage an independent cantor or rabbi, that person will privately take your child from wherever they are in their Jewish education and guide them to Bar or Bat Mitzvah. That is what I do - the full package from beginning to end. Whether children have had a previous Jewish education or not; whether they know Hebrew or not, I take them by the hand, one-on-one, and teach them to read and chant Torah. I love the relationship that develops over the year or two years (or even three) that I study with a student. I love watching them grow and mature, culminating with their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Mazal Tov.
Tutoring agencies + an independent rabbi or cantor.
There are many Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutoring services available in NYC and many tutors will come to your home. These tutors are often students who work for a larger agency and they coordinate with the cantor or rabbi who will officiate. I often officiate at Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs who have been tutored by others. I miss the relationship that develops when I have the privilege of being the teacher, but I also love helping make these Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah services joyful and meaningful.
Join a synagogue + go to religious school.
There are a lot of synagogues in NYC and if you are looking for one that fits your needs, there is bound to be one. Whether big or small, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Renewal, Chabad – every color of Jewish is here in NYC. At most synagogues you pay annual dues, send your child to Religious/Hebrew School and pay extra for additional tutoring for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Large synagogues often have more than one child celebrating at Shabbat Morning services.