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October 10, 2015 | 27th Tishrei 5776
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B'nei Mitzvah Tutoring


  1. March 2007 Digest 045

                Each year we have approximately 50 b'nei mitzvah. Currently, in the seventh grade year we have a b'nei mitzvah class that each student enrolls in five months prior to his/her bar/bat mitzvah. It is staffed by the cantor, an adult teacher and three "peer" tutors (8th graders generally). The peer tutors work with the 7th grade students to practice prayers from the Shabbat morning liturgy. The students rotate in small groups so that each week they are working with a different teacher (either the cantor, the adult teacher or one of the peer tutors). When they are with the cantor or adult teacher they focus on practicing their Torah and haftarah portions. This model has been in place for approximately three years. After the five months in the class the student spends about one month in weekly individual sessions with the cantor too.

                We are in the process of evaluating the effectiveness of this model. Previously, students met with the cantor individually for 10-15 per week for several months before their bar/bat mitzvah.

                I am interested in learning about the models used in other congregations of similar size with a similar number of b'nei mitzvah each year.


    500 families
  2. Nov 2007 Digest 220

                Usually our tutors end up being one of the gabbaim. The kids find it comforting to have the tutor there in case they stumble.

  3. Nov 2007 Digest 220

                We have three b’nei mitzvah tutors. Each one is assigned to a child for the entire year prior to his or her simcha. One of our tutors is the congregation’s assistant cantor. When a student of the assistant cantor is reciting Torah and the assistant cantor is the officiant at the service, he is, of course, present; otherwise the tutors do not come to the bimah or to the service for that matter. Sometimes a family may choose to invite the tutor but they are under no obligation to attend and are not part of the service. It is the responsibility of or our rabbis and cantors to stand with the child and offer assistance and support when needed.


  4. Nov 2007 Digest 220

                As an educator, I have to say that though no family is "under obligation"  to invite a tutor, or any teacher or school educational leader, think about the message our congregations would be sending if we promoted such a tradition as  congregational minhag. We value learning as a lifelong tradition and promoting the recognition of the importance of educators on the growth of a child and family by including them in life cycle moments is a wonderful way to "walk the talk."

  5. Nov 2007 Digest 220

                …although we are a small congregation with few bar/bat mitzvot during the year (and most have tutors from our Religious School), only the rabbi is on the bimah with the celebrant. This was also the fact when we were a 600-plus family congregation with many, many b'nei mitzvot.

                Our policy is that the rabbi checks on the student's progress, confers with the tutor if need be as well as with the student and family to ensure proficiency. And, only the rabbi provides support, encouragement and as acts as gabai during the actual service.


    120 and holding
  6. Nov 2007 Digest 220

                In our very small congregation, we do not have a cantor or provide tutoring in trope. Most families use the same excellent local private tutor. When she is able to, she does attend the service and serve as gabbai. Our rabbinic interns appreciate the important role she plays in training and preparing the students, and work very well with her at the bimah. If she's not available to attend, the rabbinic intern officiating serves as gabbai.


  7. Nov 2007 Digest 222

                We have two wonderful tutors, who divide the b’nei mitzvah kids in half and work with all of them. The families pay…

                The trope for all parashot is on audiotapes made by our cantor. She and the tutors work to get the kids as far as they can go. But it's the cantor who works on that with the students.

                The cantor meets with all the kids several times. The rabbi who will do the service also meets with the kids and helps them with the d’rash. The other two rabbis do the rehearsals. This way every child has some contact with all of the clergy, in different amounts. It works very well for us, and I think the families are appreciative.

                On the bimah, the cantor is the gabbai. The students lead almost all of the service up to the d’rash, and usually read all of the aliyot. We have, however, begun asking congregants to welcome the b’nei mitzvah in by reading an aliyah.


    960 units

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