Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.
— Elie Wiesel

Bar or Bat Mitzvah is not an end, or a beginning. It is a journey: a spiritual and personal rite of passage. Fig Tree will work with families to craft a meaningful and unique Bar or Bat Mitzvah year, as exceptional and multifaceted as the students themselves. 

Fig Tree B'Nai Mitzvah Program

Fig Tree helps students and their families design, prepare for, and realize a Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience that incorporates each student’s individuality, and reflects his or her self-defined Jewish identity. Our yearlong B’Nai Mitzvah Program is comprised of one-on-one tutoring, group Judaic studies, and meaningful service work, culminating in an end-of-year community celebration.

One-on-One Tutoring
Each student will be matched with a tutor whose skills and experience correspond with his or her Bar/ Bat Mitzvah goals. Want to learn your full Torah portion, Haftorah and trope? No problem. Want to research the history of Babylonian Jews in the Middle Ages and give a great D’Var Torah on your findings? We’ve got a tutor for you. Want to choreograph an interpretive dance based on Megillah Ruth? Fabulous! We’ll pair you with the right person. (You get the idea.)
Tutors will meet with students on a regular basis, with frequency depending on need; see below for more details. 

Group Judaic Studies
B’Nai Mitzvah students will meet every other week for group learning. Classes will follow an identity- and values-based curriculum, and feature more advanced content on Jewish holidays, ritual, culture, history and text. Themes of charity, social justice and environmental preservation will be infused throughout the year, and will tie in to monthly service work. 

Meaningful Service Work
Service work- the act of doing good for others- is a fundamentally Jewish act, according to both text and custom. (It also happens to be awesome.) We feel that this connection between service work and Jewish identity is incredibly relevant today, and establishes for our students a powerful connection to their heritage. Fig Tree has partnered with Repair the World to create meaningful service opportunities throughout the year, culminating in an individual- or group-based Mitzvah Project.

End of Year Community Celebration
At the end of the school year (June 2018), Fig Tree will host a community celebration in honor of the B’Nai Mitzvah students. This celebration is not a replacement for, or mirror of, the students’ individual Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremonies and parties. Rather, it is an opportunity for family, friends and Fig Tree classmates to gather in community to honor and acknowledge the year of hard work and service commitment fulfilled by our B’Nai Mitzvah students..

Preparation for a Meaningful Ceremony

Fig Tree recognizes that each student and family arrives at B’Nai Mitzvah with different goals and intentions. Our process begins with an initial planning meeting between the Bar or Bat Mitzvah candidate & parents, Fig Tree Director of B’Nai Mitzvah, and Fig Tree Executive Director. Together, we will outline goals, timeline, and a tutoring plan. Following that planning session, Fig Tree can also provide referrals to local Rabbis or other officiants, and once an officiant is chosen, we will meet with him or her to confirm the plan. Regularly scheduled check points throughout the year will ensure that each B’Nai Mitzvah student is on target to meet his or her goals. And, on the day of the ceremony, our tutors can be on hand if desired, for “day-of” support and guidance. 


Some students will arrive at the B’Nai Mitzvah year with a strong foundation in Hebrew; others will be complete beginners. This is totally fine. However, a student’s Hebrew level is a critical factor in determining what type of ceremony is appropriate for each student and family. Although not required, Fig Tree recommends that B’Nai Mitzvah students attend at least one year of Core Fig Tree program for foundational Hebrew, and/ or our yearlong Hebrew language course, prior to the B’Nai Mitzvah year. The Hebrew language class can be taken in conjunction with the B’Nai Mitzvah Program. We can discuss this in more detail during the initial planning meeting.

Where and When

Group Learning Sessions will take place in a classroom at one of the current Fig Tree class locations, on a day and time that works for all families in the B’Nai Mitzvah class. 

One-on-one tutoring session can take place in the student’s home, or at another location that is convenient for the B’Nai Mitzvah family. The student and tutor will require a quiet location with a writing surface, wifi, and adequate lighting; Fig Tree can provide meeting locations if desired. 

Birthday Logistics

The Fig Tree B’Nai Mitzvah year runs from September to May, but it stands to reason that not all B’Nai Mitzvah students will have birthdays that neatly fall on a “convenient” date according to the school calendar. That is not an issue; we will create one-on-one tutoring schedules according to each student’s B’Nai Mitzvah date, and students can participate in our End of Year Community Celebration regardless of individual B’Nai Mitzvah status. We do, however, expect students to complete the entire year of Group Learning and Service Work, as the communal aspects of these activities are central to our program.

We will work with families to schedule appropriately, but in general we recommend the following:

  • Students with B’Nai Mitzvah age birthdays in 2018 (or, in unusual cases, 2017) should enroll in the 2017-18 B’Nai Mitzvah Program;
  • Students with B’Nai Mitzvah age birthdays in 2019 should plan to enroll in the 2018-19 B’Nai Mitzvah Program.


B’Nai Mitzvah Year
The yearlong B’Nai Mitzvah program consists of every-other-week Group Learning sessions from September to May (15 sessions total), monthly service opportunities, and the community celebration at the end of the year. The cost for this program is $1200, plus a $50 materials fee. This does not include one-on-one tutoring; see next item.

One-on-One Tutoring
Recommended number of sessions and scheduling to be determined at the initial planning meeting, and are obviously dependent on the date of each Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony.

  • 15 Sessions: Approximately every other week ($100 per session or $1500 for the year)
  • 20 Sessions: Approximately every other week, then weekly for two months leading up to ceremony ($95 per session or $1900 for the year)
  • 30 Sessions: Approximately every week throughout the year ($90 per session or $2700 for the year)