Individual Bar and
Bat Mitzvah Program:
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
and Bat Mitzvah students who are too busy for set class
and Bat Mitzvah students
with any level (even none or years and years) of Jewish
and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in Israel
who love the outdoors or students who would rather be indoors
Fee Schedule or if you are ready to register click here>>
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
good? Here are the details:
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
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.
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, 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.
Rabbi Evon Yakar:
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.
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:
Full Friday Night Kiddush
Preface to Amidah
Shema with Echad Eloheinu
Blessings before and after Torah Reading
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
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.
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>>
Social Action (Tikkun Olam) Project:
Why does Social Action have to do with Bar or Bat
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)
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.
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:
work (Durango, CO)
Removal (New York City)
Homes (New Orleans)
a Neighborhood Park Clean-up (Denver, CO)
Prepare Meals for Koko the Signing Gorilla (California)
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.
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 Shabbat
experiences were for you and your family.
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>>
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.
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.
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 >>
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
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.
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
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
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?
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.
also recommend reading Rabbi
Korngold's books to get a sense of who she is and how
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:
Program is right for you?
Individual Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Option for Distance Learning and Destination Ceremonies
(10 months, you pick the start date)
On this page, read above
to register and sign click here>>
Adventure Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Class, Boulder Colorado
(10 months, August - May)
to register and sign click here >>
Bar and Bat Yisrael, a less
intensive coming of age program without Hebrew
Option for Distance Learning
to register and sign click here >>
Israel Bar or Bat Mitzvah
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
info click here>>