What is Taught in Bar Mitzvah Lessons

For young boys preparing for their Bar Mitzvahs, it's essential that he learns the basics with Bar Mitzvah lessons. When a student is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah (or her Bat Mitzvah), there are several things that usually are done. The parents often either hire or are appointed a Bar Mitzvah tutor to help the student learn the Torah reading and Haftorah reading. The Torah reading is in Hebrew; as it is written in the Torah scroll, no vowel symbols or punctuation is included. Therefore, enough practice has to happen for the youth to be able to know how to vocalize the words, when to inflect the end of a sentence and understand the meaning of the words. In addition, it is traditional to chant the readings from the Torah and Haftorah text; the chanting symbols, called Trope, need to be practiced and learned along with the rest during Bar Mitzvah lessons.

In addition to learning the texts, the Bar Mitzvah student will probably be in charge of leading several prayers, if not most of the service itself. This will also require practice; the Bar Mitzvah tutor can help with this preparation.

Usually, the student will be given an audio version of the assigned Torah portion and Haftorah portion with which to practice. The format is up to the individual tutor and student. It may be a CD, or mp3, or some other format. In fact, it isn't hard to find the audio for any Torah portion online with a search, free for downloading.

The Bar Mitzvah student will meet several times with the tutor, and have a certain goal for achieving proficiency at each meeting. So practice between meetings is essential. Learning the parts gives the student a great sense of achievement, and a real sense that he is capable of a great deal.

Preparation and working with a Bar Mitzvah tutor usually begins about 9-12 months before the date of the service. Meetings may be weekly, or start out twice a month and then occur more frequently as the date nears.

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