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B'nei Mitzvah Workshop


B'nei Mitzvah Workshop

The B’nei Mitzvah Workshop has all of the ingredients for a most successful b’nei mitzvah preparation experience:

  • Sufficient lead time: Students join the program at least 9 months before their bar or bat mitzvah date, and/or at the beginning of their Grade 7 school year.
  • Weekly study: Sixty to Ninety-minute sessions provide intensive study in preparation for each student's Torah and Haftarah portion...
    • Usually 11:15am – 12:30pm every Sunday, all year long;
    • Sessions available over the summer months;
    • Includes small group and individual (1:1) tutoring;
    • Uses large classroom areas as well as separate, quiet break-out spaces.
  • Teaching and Support: There is at least one highly qualified tutor for every 3 students, and...
    • Regular and ongoing support from Cassie, Cantor Judy  and the Rabbi;
    • The progress of each child is very carefully monitored and tracked;
    • And as always, individual supplementary support is available outside of class time as needed.
  • Tools to reinforce learning: Audio technology is utilized for support in class, and MP3 files and real-time videos (on the child’s personal device) are provided for home review. Students also submit recordings of their home practise so that our staff team can assess progress mid week.


This model:

  • Offers thorough grounding in the skills necessary to lead in the reading of sacred texts ;
  • Ensures that each child has at least 1 hour per week of intensive study, (separate from ongoing check-ins and supports) offered within the window of time that our families have already set aside for their children’s Jewish education;
  • Offers a communal process and experience that is vital to the growth and development of this age-group's Jewish identity;
  • Provides an essential connection to the synagogue community and to the Rabbi and Cantor in preparation for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.

How will each weekly workshop be structured?

The 60-90 minute session is comprised of several components, including one-on-one intensive time with tutor/Cantor/Rabbi tackling new text or reinforcement of Torah in sanctuary; groups of 2 or 3 students working on blessings and tropes; individual review with audio support; and work/review in havruta (partnership) as reinforcement.

After their cantillation (“Give Torah a Chants”) class this year, is my child now expected to be able to “put it together” independently?

In Grade 6, our students gained the background enabling them to learn their portions with greater ease and success.  In this B’nei Mitzvah Foundations Workshop, the students work together with their teachers, taking small sections of Torah or Haftarah text, “figuring it out”, then practising and practising until it is comfortable. They work at a moderate pace, learning approximately one new verse per week.

What if my child needs extra support?

Individual help is always available in-person in the workshop, and also during the week in online sessions as needed.

What about noise/distraction from other children?

There are separate, quiet spaces available for individual tutoring, listening practice with noise-canceling headphones, and havruta work.

What if my child has learning issues?

We at Temple Emanu-El always strive to meet the individual developmental needs of each student. An appropriate program will be designed for your child in consultation with Cassie, Judy and the Rabbi.

What about practicing at home?

The most challenging learning of any new text takes place in the Temple setting with the help of our skilled teachers. Of course, our students are expected to review regularly at home what they have accomplished in class to build their competence and confidence. It is expected that they will send “show-off” videos from home when they are ready to shine.

What about my child’s D’var Torah?

Once our students know their Torah portion well, we invite them to teach some Torah to the congregation as part of their bar/bat mitzvah ceremony. Rabbi Landsberg will meet regularly with you and your child beginning approximately 2 months before their b’nei mitzvah to help with the preparation of this short English presentation.

Who is overseeing the program?

As it has always been at Temple Emanu-El, the b’nei mitzvah program falls under the rubric of the Centre for Jewish Living and Learning. Cantor Judy Adelman Gershon and our Education Director, Cassie Moscoe-Sweet, are our “dream team”. They are ultimately responsible for all aspects of the programme and deal directly with the students and their families. Together with the exceptional skills of our teachers and Rabbi Landsberg, our team is extremely capable of ensuring a rewarding, meaningful and successful experience for each child.



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B'nei Mitzvah Program Page

Thu, March 23 2023 1 Nisan 5783