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Hebrew Teachers and Tutors for Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Hebrew Teachers and Tutors for Bar/Bat Mitzvah


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2008 - 2013 Recommendations


Bar Bat Mitzvah Tutor with a spiritual bent

I am looking for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor who can prepare a student and conduct the ceremony. I would appreciate an open minded approach for an interfaith family and some musicality. Ages 8 to 13. Rachel


You should consider Arik Labowitz (http://ariklabowitz.com/). He is easy to relate to and tailors his approach to the student. Recent Bar Mitzvah
Try contacting Patti Moskovitz. She does bar/bat mitzvah training, conversion prep, and everything in between: pattimoskovitz@gmail.com Sarah F
I'd recommend Arik Labowitz. http://www.ariklabowitz.com/Home_Page.html He is spiritual and musical. Our family met him once at an informational session he was offering at Afikomen because we were interested in what his approach was, and we were really impressed. Our daughter is nowhere near bat mitzvah age yet, but we will definitely consider him when the time comes. Jennifer
I highly recommend Arik Labowitz. He officiated our son's Bar Mitzvah in 2011. Aside from being both open-minded and highly musical, he is knowledgeable, dynamic and inspirational. In addition, has a unique ability to relate to all types of people, young and old. We collaborated to create a personalized experience that was relevant to our son and family. We were very happy with Arik and the outcome. He runs a Bar/Bat Mitzvah program in Berkeley and can be reached at 510-229-2006. His website is www.ariklabowitz.com Nancy
I highly recommend Arik Labowitz (arikzev@gmail.com 510-229-2006) for tutoring and officiating your child's ceremony. Arik has been running an Independent Bar & Bat Mitzvah program in the East Bay for many years. Arik worked with my daughter and then our son. Ari made this truly spiritual for our mixed faith/part atheist family and friends from all denominations. Arik is a fine musician (guitar) and brings out the music and joy in the ceremony. I wish I had known about Arik for my oldest whose experience was not as rich. My friends are still talking about our most recent bar mitzvah. Neither child experienced serious meltdowns/anxiety/fear but actually learned and enjoyed the process. Arik brings an open minded Jewish spirit to the teaching and to the ceremony. Great guitarist: inclusive and joyful. I wish he had been my rabbi/cantor when I was 13! Laura
Hi Rachel, I know a number of people who do home preparation for bar & bat mitzvah. You don't say what city you are in so I'm going to guess that you're in or near Berkeley. There is a very nice man, Arik Labowitz, who is in the Berkeley area. You can see his website at www.ariklabowitz.com. If you live somewhere else feel free to give me a call at Building Jewish Bridges and you can tell me where you live. www.buildingjewishbridges.org 510-845-6420 x11 Mazel tov! Dawn K
Dear Parents, Are you looking for a non-traditional but highly qualified tutor for your bar/bat mitzvah student? I would highly recommend the tutor for my daughter who had her bat mitzvah at the East Bay JCC in October 2010. His name is Arik Labowitz, email arikzev@gmail.com, phone 510-229-2006. Arik develops a solid learning plan with the student to make sure he/she is prepared and at ease. He works with the student and family to plan a ceremony that is welcoming, full of love and music, and fits the needs and preferences of the family. Together you can chose your favorite prayers and songs, and add special tributes. Arik sings and plays guitar and invites in drummers and other musicians. Arik can also deal with whatever family issues arise to lesson stress and to remind us of the importance of this time of life for our child. We have so many fond memories and photos which we are willing to share with any of you one-on-one. 510-229-2006 arikzev@gmail.com) Robin M
We did my daughter's Bat- Mitzvah with Rabbi Tsipi Gabai two years ago. Rabbi Gabai is Tehiyah Day School's Rabbi, she has been tutoring students for Bar/Bat Mitzvah for over a decade. She is knowledgable, patient and has a very spiritual style. She works with a musician who accompanies the services. We had a very mixed crowd of Jewish and non-Jewish friends; American, Israeli and family members form around the world at our daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Rabbi Tsipi, was able to bring everyone together in a service that was meaningful, respectful and spiritual. I would highly recommend talking to her. Tsipi Gabai: rebtsip@gmail.com (510) 725-2345 oweksler
I highly recommend Arik Labowitz, who tutored and officiated my older son's bar mitzvah and is now working with my younger son in preparation for his forthcoming bar mitzvah next summer. We were impressed by Arik's knowledge and his willingness to explore the spiritual aspects of not only traditional prayers and stories, but also of Hebrew letters and history. Arik is adept at working with kids to help them bring out their own spirituality in a way that's both empowering and meaningful to his students.

My son's bar mitzvah service was warm, welcoming and deeply affecting. I was impressed by how much my son had learned from working with Arik, and how much my son's view of Judaism had changed — from one who questioned the veracity of certain Jewish beliefs, to understanding that questioning and exploring is an inherent part of forming one's spiritual identity. emg1010


I highly recommend Rabbi Sara Shendelman as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor and ceremony leader. She is warm, highly knowledgeable, musical, interesting and a born teacher. Her teaching is filled with creativity with a personal response to each student. She really engages the students and allows them to express themselves with beautiful results. Her ceremonies are joyful and meaningful to the whole extended family. She can be reached at 510 644 2956 or at songbirds22@gmail.com aliyasd
I would like to recommend Rabbi Sara Shendelman and her Jewish Arts, Culture and Torah School (moretorah@aol.com, 510-644-2956). My daughter attended for several years and we were very happy with the balanced Jewish education she received. There was enough ''religion'' to teach what we felt was necessary. And, there was ''spiritual'' teaching for understanding about WHY things are done and history and what they mean. There was also fun and music and art built in so that my daughter wants to keep the practices in her life that I believe help her to be a healthy person. When the time comes, Rabbi Sara helps the youth and their families create beautiful services that are practical (read as minimizing stress), meaningful and memorable. Dawn T
Feb 2011

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Prepation & Hebrew Studies: Rabbi Avram Davis is an engaging, fun Hebrew and Torah teacher! He is working with my son one-on-one, tutoring him in Hebrew, helping him explore the meanings found in his Torah portion and to write his dvar Torah (BM speech), and learn the blessings, all with patience and humor. Avram will perform the BM service anywhere you choose. Email moretorah2@gmail.com or call 510-292-9563. Mom of Happy Bar Mitzvah student


May 2008

My son will be working with a tutor this year for his Bar Mitzvah in the secular, cultural kindershul/folkshul tradition. To make it more fun and interesting, as well as for financial reasons, we would love to have at least one more student. If you're interested please email me. Thanks. Deborah


Sara Shendelman and Avram Davis, both Jewish Renewal rabbis (the founders of Chochmat Halev in Berkeley), teach bar/bat mitzvah students and younger students in the lovely yurt in their backyard in Berkeley, where 6-10 kids sit on pillows and learn Torah, Hebrew, and Jewish culture through art, song, and discussion in a relaxed setting. Some classes are held in the park across the street. Hebrew school is only ONE hour, 1x week. Classes for the younger students (ages 6-10) are within the JACTS program (Jewish Arts and Culture). My daughter learned to lead all the blessings, to read Hebrew well, and developed her Jewish identity in 2 years with Sara & Avram. We just had her bat mitzvah with Sara & Av, and it was one of the most energetic, lovely services I have ever attended. i urge you to enroll your kids to study with them. Because of the smaller classes, the kids learn much more in the one hour than they learn in 4 hours per week at the usual temple classes. Sara: 510-644-2956.
Suzanne
Apr 18 2008

I can honestly say that I have really enjoyed studying Hebrew with Sharone Negev. Her patience, enthusiasm, and sensitivity are exceptional. She makes learning Hebrew fun and exciting. I especially enjoyed learning to sing Hebrew songs. Sharone is a native speaker and this gives her tutoring an added dimension. Stephen M


2004 - 2007 Recommendations


Daughter would like to be bat mitzvahed

Dec 2004

My 13 yr. old daughter has expressed interest in becoming bat mitzvahed. She's been to a couple of them and I think she's looking for something to identify with. Her dad was raised catholic but is not religious. I was raised jewish, but am not religious. I was never bat mitzvahed myself, but would like to honor my daughter's wishes. I really don't know what's involved, but am open to learning. So, I think I'm looking for a laid back tutor who could help us figure out how to get my daughter bat mitzvahed. Any suggestions or experiences to share?
signed: Hoping to figure it out


This is in response to the mom looking for a private bat mitzvah tutor for her daughter.

You will probably have to have a private ceremony at the JCC, Brazilian Room, Albany Community Center or other unaffiliated site. Synagogues have their own bar/bat mitzvah programs and require a teen to attend at least two to three years of Hebrew school and bat mitzvah preparation in order to celebrate a bat mitzvah during a regular Shabbat service.

That said, I attended a lovely bat mitzvah ceremony at the Brazilian Room several years ago. The family put together their own service (a fair amount of work) with the help of a private tutor. Her name is Sara Leah; I believe she's associated with both Nativot Shalom and Chochmat Halev, both congregations in Berkeley.

Mazel Tov and good luck! Julie


Hi, My son and his friend received outstanding Bar Mitzvah and Hebrew education/tutoring from Sacha Kopin. You can reach her at sachajk AT yahoo.com. Jamie
The family looking for bat mitzvah training should contact Sara Schendelman at 644-2956. She and her husband, Avram Davis, do a marvelous program of Hebrew lessons and nontraditional religious training at the School for Jewish Arts & Culture. Both my daughter and son learned some Hebrew and prepared for their bat/bar mitvahs with them, and it was a truly wonderful experience for them (warm, loving, personal, and substantial) and for me and their dad. Beth
I missed the first posting because I was busy with my son's bar mitzvah-- We did the whole thing independently, and it was the most beautiful, meaningful ritual I've ever participated in. I highly recommend doing what it takes to make your daughter's bat mitzvah what you want it to be. My son studied with Julie Batz, a very gifted teacher and service leader. Contact her at 510 -579-8202. We rented a lovely space at Hillel and used their Torah. You can do it, and it's worth doing. Feel free to contact me, too. Lorelei
How much to pay Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor

Feb 2004

I am looking for input about the range for hourly payment for a bar/bat mitzvah tutor. Thank you and Shalom. Thinking Ahead


We've been paying our tutor $20.00 per half hour. As far as I understand, this is the going rate. $40.00 per hour, give or take $5.00. Our Bar Mitzvah is in less than 3 weeks...Whew!! Mazel Tov to you and your family June

2003 & Earlier


September 2001

I'm looking for a private modern Hebrew teacher/tutor for adult lessons. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!! AMZEL


In reply to the person looking for a Hebrew teacher, may I recommend Rutie Rosenwald - she is absolutely wonderful, a very talented teacher with both adults and kids alike, delightful and fun to work with. It might be tricky arranging a place to meet since she is in Daly City, but it's worth a try: (650)992-9072. Esther
As a current and new student to Hebrew (Biblical, specifically), I recommend very highly the teachers at Lehrhaus Judaica. Jehon Grist, who is my on-going instructor, and the Executive Director of the Center is just wonderful. Check out the website, all the classes, and various locations for classes, including Alameda Co., Contra Costa Co., and Marin Co.: http://www.lehrhaus.org/ Josh
Call your local synagogue and ask the educator. Lots of kids need extra tutoring. Also, try the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay and talk to Rabbi Glen Karonsky.
I can highly recommend my cousin, Jennie Bemesderfer. She is American, but fluent in Hebrew. She will be teaching at Tehiyah next year and has numerous "tutees" now. Wonderful with kids. (510) 527-4774
Call the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and see whether they'd post your request to their Joint Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies (Joint with UC) student list. Inbal
May 2001

Friends: I'd love to be connected with a skilled tutor to work with my incoming second-grade daughter over the summer. She'd benefit from working with someone to maintain her newly acquired Hebrew skills (so she doesn't forget everything over the summer) as well as literacy skills. Best case scenario: someone coming to our home. Otherwise anywhere from Albany to Montclair would work, North Oakland area being the best. Recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Deborah


Hebrew Tutor: Ariel Lenchner, Ph.D. is an excellent Hebrew tutor who can also tutor second grade reading in English. She is the learning specialist at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito and also maintains a private practice in Oakland, off of Piedmont Ave. Her private practice number is 510-655-2952. Ariel is very busy, but she may have an opening this summer Kathleen
I highly recommend Rotem Migdal at 549-3656. She lives up by the Claremont Hotel. I doubt that she would be able to come to your home as she's just had a baby. She has tutored my 4th grader and is presently tutoring my 2nd grader - neither of which had ANY prior exposure to, let alone experience with, Hebrew. She's kind and supportive and my kids really like her. It's $40.00 an hour which seems to be the going rate. Tell her Henry's mom sent you. susan
I highly recommend Sharon Kaplan. Her email is: sekaplan at hotmail.com Sharon is from Israel and she lives in Berkeley.
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