This is a survey about what is out there for learning programs for Bnei Mitzvah. Most of the learning programs are geared towards bat mitzvah but some of the programs below are also for bar mitzvah. Do you have a program that isn’t there? Please share in the comments below.
This is probably the oldest of the programs. Matan has a ten week program at Matan for mothers and daughters which include a learning program as well as an experiential element. My niece took part in this a number of years ago. I asked her what she thought of it. To which she replied “It was cute.” I did participate in one session with her (subbing for her mom). She was a good sport about that. The session I subbed for, was an experiential session which involved meditation and massage, if I recall correctly. Matan additionally has a program in a number of languages for communities to use locally.
Drisha’s program meets for 3-5 weeks generally on Sunday mornings. This is a learning program with their mothers or other learning partners. “Through our program options, Bat Mitzvah girls affirm their Jewish commitment and grow through the experience of learning with their families. Students may choose to study individually with a Drisha tutor on a subject of their choice or participate in a class on such topics as women in the Bible and prayer. Classes are available at Drisha or in the student’s home community.” In New York.
This program is in Jerusalem and run by Elyssa Moss Rabinowitz from Kol HaOt.
This program is divided into two parts. The first part is a joint program where one week a month there is a chavruta element with a parent and other weeks the girls further explore the topic, learn together, do creative projects or games. The second part explores topics such as women and mitzvot, mitzvot bein adam lchavero (between people), preparing a drasha and more. I have heard positive feedback from those who participated in the program. oung women
This is a nine session program for mothers and daughters that explores Jewish women and content towards the Bat Mitzvah. It includes chavruta learning, meetings with various women as well as activities and tiyulim.
The Tzohar program is geared towards young women who are not dati who are interested in learning or preparing a drasha for their Bat Mitzvah. It includes five sessions where a madricha or learning partner comes to the girls home to learn with her. Tzohar has a “journal” of texts and topics to learn together. Both religious texts and other sources. Topics include family, nation, society, and holidays. There is also a project related to creating a piece of jewelry with beads connected to the learning to make a meaningful piece to wear at the Bat Mitzvah celebration.
The Orthodox Union runs a program for children from disadvantaged neighborhoods – who would not normally do so – to prepare for and celebrate their Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Making Tefillin is a great Bnai Mitzvah activity that is hands on and a learning experience. Read about the Kesher Tefillin in a guest post by Rabbi Noah Greenberg.
This chesed program highlights respecting the elderly but additionally includes other learning and chesed opportunities. Read more about it in the guest post by Rakel Berenbaum.
Teaching life-long chesed skills. Learn more about this chesed program in the guest post by Daniel Rothner.
Happy to hear about other learning programs for Bnei Mitzvah. I know there are school and synagogue based programs, but I would like to list larger community based programs here. In addition, most of these programs are geared towards Bat Mitzvah. Happy to hear about more programs geared towards boys.