Israel

Israel Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program: 10 Months

Return to Israel, the holy land of your people, to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Imagine leading the morning service at the Robinson Arch (part of the Western Wall) one of the holiest sites to Jewish people for generations.

Imagine chanting ancient words of the Torah, surrounded by your family and friends, in the holiest city in the world.

Or, bring your family and friends to the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi, an archeological gem adjacent to the Dead Sea. After thousands of years of silent burial beneath the shifting sands, this holy site has been uncovered as if awaiting your arrival.

Or, consider a hike, camel ride, jeep tour or mountain bike ride to your ceremony site! We offer wilderness Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in Southern Israel. and have an amazing guide with whom we can connect you. Together, we will create a wilderness  Bar or Bat  Mitzvah experience for you.

Training:

The training for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel can either be completed in the Adventure B’nai Mitzvah Class or the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Individual Program.  The Individual Program is available online or in-person in Boulder CO, Armonk NY, Oklahoma City OK, Arvada CO, and Lake Tahoe CA.  This allows you the opportunity to combine the unique methodology of the Adventure Rabbi Bar or Bat Mitzvah training with an unforgettable Bat or Bat mitzvah ceremony in Israel.

Officiation:

Rabbi Jamie Korngold or Rabbi Stacy Bergman will travel to Israel to officiate at your ceremony. Both rabbis have a deep love for the land and people of Israel. they each lived in Jerusalem for a year and have both made numerous trip to Israel over the years.  They are excited to share this special land with you!

Resources & Information

General Information
Registration: sign up for an Individual Bar or Bat Mitzvah »

Fee Schedule »

Learning Resources
Videos and MP3 Files of Bar Mitzvah Prayers
List of Required Bar Mitzvah Prayers
Hebrew Version of Bar Mitzvah Prayers
Shabbat Log for Students
Class Journal
Torah Requirements
Ceremony Information
Hebrew Tutors
Prayerbook
Ceremony Set-up
Honors List

What Families are Saying About this Program

So many people told us that it was the most meaningful and special service that they have ever attended. You have a special way with people that makes them feel welcome, relaxed and connected to your words and message. Words can not express our gratitude!- Lauri Miller

About Rabbi Stacy Bergman:

Students look forward to their weekly session with Rabbi Stacy. More than one  student has said, “I didn’t know a rabbi could be so fun!” Meanwhile, parents appreciate her organizational skills and the careful attention she gives each student and their family.

Rabbi Stacy is an ordained Reform Rabbi. She loves to work with Bar and Bat Mitzvah and Bar and Bat Yisrael students to help them find their own pathway into Judaism. Her favorite moments are when she can help a student “get” how this ancient tradition still applies to them today.

She loves yoga, running, hiking with her 2 dogs and singing Broadway show tunes with her husband and 3 children. She joins us online from Armonk New York. Read more about Rabbi Stacy Bergman>>

About Rabbi Jamie Korngold

Rabbi Jamie Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi, is the founder of the Adventure Rabbi Program and Adventure Judaism.

Rabbi Jamie relishes the work she does with 12 and 13-year-olds. “This is a time in their lives when we can have a lasting impact on the people they become,” she explains.

Rabbi Jamie also excels at making quick connections with your family and friends, and will quickly build a community out of your Mitzvah guests.

When Rabbi Jamie officiates, one of the other Educators will handle the lessons and keep the Rabbi up to date with your student’s progress. At the end of the process, she will come in to plan and officiate at the ceremony.

Rabbi Jamie has traveled to Israel with many of our families. “Israel provides a unique opportunity to deepen the connection that the student and their family’s feel with their People,” she explains. “Being with them in this moment, in this place, all together. is one of the most glorious parts of my job.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Parent Involvement

We recommend that you listen in whenever possible so that you will feel part of the process. But if it does not work well for the for parent or the student, do try to check in now and then. For online learning, we do ask that an adult be present in the house and checking in occasionally. We hope that after the meetings ends, your family will continue to explore the topics that have been raised, thus making this a family experience.

Hebrew

What Hebrew prayers will the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student learn?

We recommend that you listen in whenever possible so that you will feel part of the process. But if it does not work well for the parent or the student, do try to check in now and then. For online learning, we do ask that an adult be present in the house and checking in occasionally. We hope that after the meetings ends, your family will continue to explore the topics that have been raised, thus making this a family experience.

Our emphasis is on prayers we think every Jew should know for general Jewish living. Among other prayers such as Barchu, Shema and V’ahavtah, you will learn the full Friday night Kiddush, Kaddish (seldom taught to Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids but probably the most widely needed Jewish prayer). Students should be prepared for a serious year of Hebrew study and able to commit time to this aspect of the program. Most students meet with their tutor once a week for 12-18 months. View videos of the prayers here »

Required Prayers for all Students:
Shehechiyanu
Tallit Blessing
Candle Blessing
Full Friday Night Kiddush
Hamotzi
Barchu
Shema
V’ahavtah
Preface to Amidah
Avot
G’vurot
Kedusha
Shema with Echad Eloheinu
Blessings before and after Torah Reading
Mourner’s Kaddish
Ma-Nishtanah

How about Torah?

Most of our students chant or read 6 verses of Torah. But students with severe learning limitations have read as little as three.  Some venues in Israel, for example, Robinson Arch,  supply a Torah. Otherwise, you will be reading from our very special Backpacking Torah.

What are the Hebrew requirements to get into the program?

Many of our students have no Hebrew background while others have been attending Jewish Day School for years. Either way, because this is an individual program, we can make it work and we will create a program that is appropriately challenging.

How will the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student learn their Hebrew?

Each student works with a private Hebrew tutor. Fees for this are not including in the basic program fee. Most students meet with their tutor once a week for 18 months. Occasionally students require 2 times a week, and others only occasional meetings. We recommend working with our in-house educator either in person or over the internet because she will be able to insure your student’s progress. More>>

What does Social Action have to do with Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah means becoming a more responsible member of the Jewish community. One of the values of our Jewish community is that as Jews, we have a mandate to help make the world a better place. Therefore, as you take on your new role in our community you will demonstrate your concern and connection through a social action (tikkun olam) project.

How many hours of work should I plan on?

You will complete 10 hours of work and then write a speech explaining what you did, why you chose it and what you got out of it.

What kinds of project do we do?

We prefer projects that allow Bar and Bat Mitzvah students to interact with other people, animals or nature and enable students to build relationships. We prefer that you stay always from fund raisers.

Examples of Past Projects:

Trail work (Durango, CO)
Graffiti Removal (New York City)
Building Homes (New Orleans)
Organizing a Neighborhood Park Clean-up (Denver, CO)
Helping Prepare Meals for Koko the Signing Gorilla (California)

Shabbat Projects

A note from Rabbi Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi:

My not so secret agenda is to introduce the Bar and Bat Mitzvah students and their families to Shabbat as meaningful part of life. Our lives are so frenetic! One of the greatest gifts Judaism has given us is the mandate to take a day off every week. I hope that when the kids are in college and are overwhelmed with life, they will look back at this year and think, “Oh Shabbat. Maybe that can help.” To that end, my goal is to introduce them to a Shabbat practice that fits into their lifestyle and can enhance their lives.

How does it work?

Twice a month for ten months you will pick some type of Shabbat observance to try out. You can try traditional activities like lighting candles, baking challah or going to synagogue. But you can also explore be non-traditional activities like going skiing with your family but not complaining, eating ice cream for breakfast, or making dinner for you family. You will journal what you did and how it worked for you. You will also discuss with the Rabbi how these bat mitzvah ceremonyShabbat experiences were for you and your family.

The Ceremony

Where is the ceremony?

You are able to pick the venue that works for your family and friends. The most common in Israel in Robinson Arch. Click for more information or to make a reservation.

The Rabbi or Elaine will arrive at your ceremony with the Torah and prayerbooks.

To help you plan for the service we have great resources posted such as:

The Bar or Bat Mitzvah student’s large print version of the service. Click Here>>
The guests booklet format version of the service (same content, different format) Click Here>>
A diagram of how to set up the service venue Click Here>>
The honors you will be able to give out to guests Click Here>>
A list of items you will need to bring to the service Find This All Here>>

Who officiates at the ceremony?

Rabbi Jamie Korngold or Elaine Barenblat generally officiate at the ceremonies of their students. Rabbi Evon Yakar will officiate at cermeonies in Lake Tahoe.

How will we plan it?

A month or two before the ceremony you will have two meetings with the officiating rabbi to plan and rehearse the ceremony.

Do we get to personalize the ceremony?

Yes! We can include as many of your guests as you would like. You can even write your own prayerbook, although most families opt to use our Adventure Rabbi nature-based prayerbook.

What is the fee for an Individual Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Fees are based on which rabbi officiates at the ceremony, and the location of the ceremony. For example, a ceremony in Israel is more expensive than one in Lake Tahoe, California. For a list of our fee schedule, please click here >>

How Do I Sign Up For An Individual Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

You can sign up online here >>

Does it have to be outside?

As the Adventure Rabbi Program, we love hiking or skiing Bar or Bat Mitzvahs but we realize not every family can do that.
View Outdoor Bar Mitzvah One Minute Video >>
View photos from a recent Skiing Bat Mitzvah at Copper Mountain >>

Can the Torah go outside?

Because we use a paper Torah rather than a kosher parchment Torah (which might be damaged by the elements) our ceremonies can take place in any location, as accessible or adventurous as your family chooses.

What about having the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony in locations other than Lake Tahoe, California?

Rabbi Evon is happy to officiate at ceremonies outside of South Lake Tahoe. Obviously it costs a bit more, because it takes more of the Rabbi’s time. For prices>>

Other Commonly Asked Questions

We have family members who can't hike, but we know a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that includes hiking with the Adventure Rabbi is an amazing and unique experience. Is there any way we can incorporate a little hiking?

We suggest adding a hiking Friday night service that includes a hike. That way even if your Saturday service can’t be on the trail because not everyone is physically capable of hiking, at least a subset of the group can enjoy that amazing experience on Friday night. We have found that the cohesive feeling created in the smaller group rapidly spreads to the entire larger group.

Can we also add a short hiking piece on Saturday?

Some locations lend themselves easily to a hike preceding the main service. For example, if you have the service at Temple Bat Yam, on the summit of Flagstaff Mountain (Boulder, CO) or Chautauqua Community House (Boulder, CO) we can add a little hiking at beginning of the service that is very accessible. Those who can’t hike can drive to the site and they will not miss too much.

How will we get to know Rabbi Korngold if we are studying with Rabbi Evon Yakar?

We encourage your family to participate in Adventure Rabbi events throughout the year so that you can build a relationship with Rabbi Korngold and our larger community. You will meet an amazing group of people, eager to find a meaningful way to experience their Judaism.

In order to facilitate this we will give your Bar or Bat Mitzvah student a free membership to the Adventure Rabbi Program, a $750 value.

We also recommend reading Rabbi Korngold’s books to get a sense of who she is and how she works.