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Bar / Bat Mitzvah Individual Program

Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in Boulder CO - destination rabbi

Individual Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program:
10 Months

The Adventure Rabbi Individual Study or Destination Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program is a Great Alternative for:

  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah students who live anywhere
    Distance learning via Skype and GoToMeeting is available
  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah students who are too busy for set class times
  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah students with any level (even none or years and years) of Jewish background
  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in Israel
  • Students who love the outdoors or students who would rather be indoors

For Fee Schedule or if you are ready to register click here>>

Destination Bat Mitzvah & Bar Mitzvah in ColoradoHow the program works:

You will have individual monthly meetings, via video conferencing or in person, with Rabbi Evon Yakar (based in South Lake Tahoe, California) or Rabbi Jordie Gerson (Boulder, CO) and weekly meetings with a Hebrew tutor (arranged separately). Rabbi Jordie also offers Hebrew tutoring so -bonus!- you can do all of your studies with the same teacher, if you elect to.

You will learn Hebrew prayers, chant Torah, do a Social Action project, complete a Shabbat project, write a D'var Torah or D'var Shana and learn why all this is meaningful. Then you will have a ceremony in front of your family and friends on the date and at the venue of your choosing.

What families say about this experience:

"Jake has said several times throughout the past year that his Bar Mitzvah experience was the best time of his life (his life is pretty good on a day to day basis and he knows it). He so appreciated the whole process, working with you, and the surrounding beauty of nature during the service. It was incredibly special and affected everyone involved. Our older son would have liked to do the same had we known about the program 3 years earlier.- Lauri Streeck

Sound good? Here are the details:

1. Monthly Meetings with the Rabbi:
How often do we meet and where?
Each month for ten months our Bar or Bat Mitzvah students meet individually with one of our Bar and Bat Mitzvah Distance Leaning Specialists, Rabbi Jordie Gerson or Rabbi Evon Yakar. The meetings can either be by GoToMeeting, Facetime, Skype or in person. (Just imagine - no more carpooling! The student just sits down in front of the computer!)

What will we talk about?
During these individual sessions with the Rabbi, we will discuss the meaning behind Bat and Bat Mitzvah and look at big life questions such as, "What is God and what does God have to do with me?" and, "What can Judaism teach me about being a teenager?" and, "Why am I doing all this?"

We will also talk about your Shabbat and Social Action (Tikkun Olam) Projects, (explained below), study the English of your Torah portion and create the speeches you will give at the ceremony.

Parent Involvement:
We recommend that you plan on ten minutes at the end of each call or meeting to check in with the Rabbi so you will feel part of the process. Parents are also welcome to sit in on the sessions. But if it does not work well for the for parent to be on the call or at the meeting, they must still be in the house and checking in occasionally, for the safety of the student and Rabbi. 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.

About Rabbi Jordie Gerson:Rabbi Jordie Gerson - Adventure Rabbi
Rabbi Jordie Gerson, Adventure Rabbi, works full-time in the Adventure Rabbi Boulder Headquarter. Rabbi Jordie was selected from a sea of applicants for her warmth, enthusiasm, Jewish knowledge and outdoor knowledge and experience.

Rabbi Gerson is a native of Oak Park, Illinois, but came to Colorado as fast as she could. During high school, she participated in a Jewish outdoor program in the San Juan mountains, followed it up with a NOLS mountaineering course, and after college graduation, returned to the Rockies to live in a log cabin in Eldora, teach rock-climbing to at-risk girls, and in the summers lead environmental education backpacking trips for teens.

After a couple years of that, Rabbi Gerson left the mountains for Harvard Divinity School, where she received a Masters in Theological Studies (with emphases on Christianity and Islam), and then entered the Reform Movement’s Rabbinical School – Hebrew Union College, in New York City. After ordination, and work at various Hillels around the country (Yale, NYU and University of Vermont) and large urban congregations in New York City and San Diego.

Rabbi Jordie is thrilled to be back in Boulder, and, at long last, combine her love of Judaism and youth work with her passion for the outdoors and environmental education.

About Rabbi Evon Yakar:Evon yakar
Rabbi Evon, Adventure Rabbi, comes to us via Skype from South Lake Tahoe, California. He specializes in youth education and is an expert at making Judaism relevant and meaningful to 12 and 13 year olds.

He is passionate about sharing Judaism with his students and loves the opportunity to personalize the program according to the interests of each of his students.

Rabbi Evon can often be found riding the beautiful roads and trails near his home in South Lake Tahoe California. Rabbi Evon works part-time for the Adventure Rabbi Program and part time as the Rabbi at Temple Bat Yam. Rabbi Evon also loves skiing, hiking, and playing ice hockey. In his free time you can find him hiking with his wife Rachel, his two sons and their dog Sasha.

2. Hebrew:
What Hebrew prayers will the Bar or Bat Mitzvah student learn?
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:
Tallit Blessing
Candle Blessing
Full Friday Night Kiddush
Preface to Amidah
Shema with Echad Eloheinu
Blessings before and after Torah Reading
Mourner's Kaddish

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. We ask for equal effort, not equal product, so some read more and others less. You will be reading from our 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 10 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>>

3. Social Action (Tikkun Olam) Project:
Why 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)

4. 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.

5. The Ceremony:

Where is the ceremony?
You are able to pick the venue that works for your family and friends. For some locations we know work well, see>>

The rabbi 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 Jordie Gerson and Rabbi Evon Yakar generally officiate at the ceremonies of their students, although you may request to work with Rabbi Jamie Korngold instead.

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 >>

Adventure Bar & Bat Mitzvah (Individual):
Resources & Information

Sign up for an Individual Bar or Bat Mitzvah - Click Here >>

Fee Schedule:
Click Here>>

Hebrew Tutors:

Click Here >>

Learning Resources:

Please note: Word Documents may open in your Browser's Downloads Folder.

Ceremony Information:



Bar Mitzvah Rabbi for destination eventDoes 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 >>

Or, 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.

After reading through this information, if you feel an Adventure Rabbi Bar or Bat Mitzvah will be a good fit for your family, please either:


Which Program is right for you?

    OPTION 1:
    Individual Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program
    Option for Distance Learning and Destination Ceremonies
    (10 months, you pick the start date)
    On this page, read above
    Ready to register and sign click here>>

    OPTION 2:
    Adventure Bar and Bat Mitzvah Class, Boulder Colorado
    (10 months, August - May)
    Click here>>
    Ready to register and sign click here >>

    OPTION 3:
    Bar and Bat Yisrael, a less intensive coming of age program without Hebrew
    Option for Distance Learning
    (12 weeks)
    Click here >>
    Ready to register and sign click here >>

    OPTION 4:
    Israel Bar or Bat Mitzvah Ceremony
    >Adventure Rabbi bar or bat mitzvah training with Rabbi Evon Yakar during monthly Skype meetings or as part of the Adventure Class
    >Individual Hebrew tutoring with your own tutor
    >Unforgettable unique bar or bat mitzvah ceremony in Israel.
    Locations include the Robinson Arch at the Western Wall, the Ancient Synagogue in Ein Gedi and atop Masada

    More info click here>>

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Individual Bar & Bat Mitzvah Program

OPTION 2: Adventure
Bar & Bat Mitzvah Class

OPTION 3: Bar & Bat Yisrael

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OPTION 5: Bar Mitzvah in Israel or Bat Mitzvah in Israel