Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring and Hebrew Lessons
We are pleased to offer you the services of Mr. Barry Konner
In Judaism, a bar or bat mitzvah is an important rite of passage that marks the symbolic transformation of a boy or girl into a man or woman. It is a joyous and festive occasion usually attended by one’s entire family and circle of friends and colleagues.
Accordingly, it’s important to know what you are doing.  I have taught over 500 students to read Torah, chant Haftarah, deliver sermons and lead prayer services.   My students have been children as well as adults. I have also conducted private ceremonies in hotels, backyards, country clubs, restaurants and catering halls.

I have led services on Masada and Jerusalem and can travel to any destination.

Whether you are Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist or secular, I will be able to help you prepare for this important Jewish ritual.

For more information, please contact Barry Konner at or call 914-393-7935.

Bar / Bat Mitzvah Services in Israel

We are pleased to offer you the services of Rabbi Jeff Bearman
This information below will assist you to get prepared for your “simcha” (happy event) in Israel.  It is intended to give you information on possible sites and what you can expect from your celebration in Israel.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah locations and service
The following are some possible locations for bar/bat mitzvah services.  Information about other locations may be provided upon request.
Masada (Dead Sea area) – All Masada ceremonies take place in the shade, except some dates over the winter.  The Masada synagogue is only available from 8:00 am to 9:30 am and is usually assigned to large groups and not private families.  It is not shaded.  There are many other beautiful spots on Masada to conduct ceremonies.
These spots require the use of rental chairs at 10 shekels (about US $2.75) each.  You must inform us of the number of attendees at least two weeks before your ceremony so that chairs can be reserved.
The Ancient Synagogue in Ein Gedi (Dead Sea area) – The 7th century BCE, ancient synagogue in Tel Ein Gedi on the banks of the Dead Sea is a unique locations offering privacy and atmosphere of conducting a service on top of a mosaic floor and under a large tent.  It is available with advanced reservations only.  There is an entrance and set up fee.  The site is not wheelchair accessible.
Jerusalem – There are several locations available for ceremonies:
1.  Davidson Center – also known as the Southern Wall Temple Mount Excavations.
This location consists of:
–  Robinson’s Arch (Herodian Street); and
–  The Hulda Gate staircase
Web site:
Morning ceremonies take place at the Robinson’s Arch (Herodian Street), which is shaded until 11:15 am.  Afternoon ceremonies take place at the Huldah Gate (shaded as of 2:00 pm) and Robinson’s Arch/Herodian Street (shaded as of 5:00 pm).  There is an Orthodox precedent for reading the Torah on a weekday afternoon.  Details available upon request.
Late afternoon ceremonies after closing hours (5:00 p.m.) are available depending on approval by the Davidson Center office (approval available only about 2 months in advance).  Payment for after-hours ceremonies must be done either by voucher from Hello-Israel or a US dollars or NIS (Israeli shekels) check.  No cash is accepted.
The Davidson Center offers 24 hour security.
2.  The Kotel (Western Wall) – boys only
The Kotel weekday ceremonies involve wearing of tefillin, mechitzah (separation of men and women), minyan (10 men – at least for the Torah reading), and service mostly in Hebrew.  Women stand on chairs to see the service but often they hear very little.  If you will not have a minyan, men at the Kotel can be found to hear the Torah reading.
The quietest time for a Kotel service is late Shabbat afternoon when you can really can feel the spirituality of the Kotel.  Same rules as above apply except that tefillin are not used on Shabbat.
3. Hebrew University Wall of Life on Mt. Scopus
This location offers a panoramic view of entire city.  It is not shaded.  It is best on Saturday (early morning or late afternoon) since Davidson Center is closed.  The sun is not so hot at these hours.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies can take place when the Torah is read:
– Monday & Thursday (morning or afternoon) – There is an Orthodox precedent for reading the Torah in the afternoon.  Details available upon request.
– Shabbat (Saturday), morning or afternoon
– Rosh Hodesh (Beginning of the New Month) morning or afternoon
– Morning of Minor Fast Days (17th. of Tamuz; 9th. of Av; 10th. of Tevet;)
– Afternoon of Minor Fast Days – involves Torah reading and spiritually uplifting Haftorah passage.
Davidson Center is closed on Shabbat.  Best alternative:  Wall of Life at the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus as mentioned above.
In December Masada is a better option due to weather conditions in Jerusalem.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah service can be held on weekdays other than Monday/Thursday any place except for the Kotel.  Reading from the Torah on that occasion is considered “Talmud Torah” and not liturgical Torah reading and it involves only one special Torah blessing recited before the passage is read.
Participants will be assigned three sections of Torah readings (aliyahs).  The rabbi can always read all or part of the Torah portion if necessary.  Participants should be prepared to do the Torah blessings.  The Torah passage is traditionally chanted with its own trope (notes).  But it can also be read (without singing).  The participant can read from the practice sheet (with the rabbi pointing out words) only if unaccustomed to reading from the Torah itself.
Our Rabbi uses his own personal Torah and table.
Haftarah (prophetic reading) and accompanying blessings are done only on (1) Shabbat mornings and (2) Minor Fast Day afternoons.  They will be assigned for those occasions.
It is highly recommended for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah participant to prepare a five minute talk about the meaning of the Torah portion and its relevance to modern day life.
The following prayer pamphlets are available:
(a)  Hebrew/English:  various prayers/songs a Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidate should know.
(b)  Service of Dedication:  creative service mostly in English.
(c)  Shabbat Hebrew/English prayer pamphlet for both morning and afternoon.
(d)  Special pamphlet combining “a” and “b”
Kotel ceremonies preferably done using abbreviated morning service from the Orthodox prayer books available there.
When you receive the letter concerning prayer pamphlet selection from Rabbi Bearman, kindly please pay special attention to the requested names of readers.  This request is in the last paragraph of that letter.  Once the Rabbi will hear back regarding your prayer pamphlet selection he will suggest who reads what section.  The service works better if all readers (including the Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidate) practice their assigned parts in advance before arriving to Israel and one or two days before the ceremony.
Rabbi Bearman will supply prayer pamphlets for the attendees.
The most important item is the full English and Hebrew names of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah participant (including the Hebrew/Yiddish names of the parents).  If the Bar/Bat Mitzvah participant and/or the parents do not have Hebrew names, I suggest you borrow a Hebrew/English name dictionary from a local synagogue or JCC to pick them.  The Hebrew/Yiddish names of parents and grandparents should be included if available.  The full Hebrew/Yiddish names of grandparents should be included if they attend or participate in the service.
Recommended dress is casual.  Shorts are appropriate for Masada only (but not short shorts).
Men:  Suits/jackets/ties are not required (but are certainly permissible).  Not too practical during the summer months.
Women:  Long Dresses/Long skirts recommended.  Davidson Center involves sitting on steps so short dresses/short skirts are not recommended.  No bare shoulders.    Women’s arms do not have to be completely covered.  Women not required to wear head covering.
Permitted at all times (except on Shabbat at the Kotel).  If you are interested in professional photography, please refer to the Event Photography section of the website.
The Rabbi will meet with all families prior to the service if the family is staying in Jerusalem.  If a family is not staying in Jerusalem prior to the service, there is a travel and time fee.
9.  Participatory parts
Since your “simcha” is a family event  we would like to involve all immediate family members with participatory reading parts in English or Hebrew.  We will ask you for all the names.  No need for Hebrew names.

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  • Submitted On : 08 Sep 2015