Dear families,

I am so happy to share with you a special program designed to help your student prepare for a meaningful bar or bat mitzvah. The “Parents as Jewish Teachers” program is being supported throughout our Birmingham Jewish community by the Birmingham Jewish Foundation and is open to everyone, regardless of affiliation or membership. 

After years of tutoring students in preparation for their bar and bat mitzvah, I have found that the key ingredients are challenging material, 1:1 time with a tutor, and 1:1 preparation time with a parent. In order to help all this happen for your children, I am inviting your family to participate in the “Parents as Jewish Teachers” program over the next 18 months.

The concept is simple: Parents are an integral part of the preparation process for every bar and bat mitzvah student. No matter how much we Jewish leaders do, we cannot replace the importance of a parent in the development of a child’s Jewish learning. I know that many parents don’t feel personally capable of bringing high quality Judaic and Hebrew instruction to their own students. The materials I am suggesting are also not cheap, around $100 for a set of three books. That’s why I went to the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, in order to help you with the selection of material and support of your in-home instruction. 

What you need to do is just

a) see that you child does the Hebrew homework, 3 times/week. 

b) together with your child, read and discuss either the JPS Children’s Bible or the You Be the Judge.

We will be sending you regular emails in order to suggest teaching questions and prompting you to keep moving through the material. 

The only thing that you need to do in order to get these materials for free is commit to using them with your child each week. 

Please sign up here

If you are not too sure that you can commit, no problem. You can purchase these materials from our Temple. But please leave the subsidized materials for the families who commit to using them every week with their children.


Rabbi Stephen