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Would it be possible to do a crash course online to prepare our 11-year-old boy for becoming Bar Mitzvah?

If so, would it be possible to have a mentor/tutor through your site? How many lessons it would approximately take and what would be the cost of it?

Any assistance and advice will be much appreciated.

  • If you know what parsha he will lein, you can probably find recordings of it online and he can review with the recording (same with davening). An underlying question is what you expect from the bar mitzvah -- he will "have" it without doing anything. Do you want him to give a speech? – rosends Sep 9 at 10:43
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    Here is an option: chabad.org/tools/bar_mitzvah_lessons.htm – Mordechai ben Yosef Sep 9 at 10:53
  • I think you should edit this post to clarify what you seek, as per @rosends 's comment above. Prepare him for what? Reading from the Torah scroll? Giving a speech? As rosends notes, he becomes bar mitzvah without doing anything at all, by turning thirteen. – msh210 Sep 9 at 11:47
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    It is possible to prepare for reading once's parasha remotely - I know someone who did it - but it is very difficult. The most practical way is to find a local tutor, who speaks the kid's language, and can build a personal connection. Did you try contacting your local Chabad? You don't give background on why you are looking for an online tutor but it is really not typical nor ideal. – mbloch Sep 9 at 12:49
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    Dear all, thank you very much for all your suggestions; it is much appreciated. My especial thanks going to R.Mordechai ben Yosef for his entire understanding and most helpful assistance on the matter. We will definitely follow your advice, R.Mordechai ben Yosef, and start from online course recommended. Also, we would still like to arrange the private lessons for our son as well. Thank you again. Kind regards, Nonna – Nonna Sep 10 at 12:38
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Your son will become a bar – mitzvah (congratulations!) – the real meaning is that now he will be responsible for keeping the mitzvos. He needs to be educated in the mitzvos and how he is going to keep them in your situation.

The most desirable situation is that he should have someone experienced to teach him. As mentioned in the comments, the most likely help is going to come from Chabad. On https://www.chabad.org/ there is a box entitled Chabad-Lubavitch Chabad Locator; try entering your location and see what happens. I for one would be most interested to know if this helps. (In the unlikely event that this does not help you could post another question entitled “Online preparation for Bar Mitzvah no help available”)

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This may be an "opinion-based" question, so, I hope my suggestions, coming from an experienced Torah reader may assist.

First of all, halachically, there is no requirement for a Bar Mitzvah to read any part of the Torah whatsoever. The party is also not a requirement. I mention this only as this may ease the stress of thinking that you must do any of this.

Having said that, yes, theoretically, one can learn from on-line resources, CDs, etc. However, after having taught lessons to a few kids previously and listening to several taught by others, I have to say, honestly, that some boys just can't "make it", no matter what. The Hebrew pronunciation is terribly off, and when one reads Torah and / or Haftarah, these are an absolute requirement. Pronunciation of each word musty be 100% accurate. (Yes, I know that there are various shuls that aren't finicky about this requirement, but, I will be blunt by saying that they are plainly wrong.)

So, the first requirement is that your son can flawlessly read and pronounce the Hebrew words he will be reading. The next requirement is having a musical ear. He doesn't needa good voice, but an ear to accurately sing the appropriate trope (cantillation) notes required. Next, he needs a good memory, because the notes are not written in the Torah. Lastly, he needs discipline and patience. He must practice regularly at a regular schedule and keep at it. I've seen plenty of teenagers that are being pushed to read their Bar Mitzvah parsha, and they sound bad mainly because they haven't practiced enough, were never interested and motivated in the first place, and were forced to do this to make their parents "proud". My advice - If your kid puts up a tough fight against doing it, please don't force it.

Now, assuming that all the above requirements are "kosher", I strongly recommend a personal tutor who will listen to your boy's performance, offer advice, feedback and constructive criticism. As I said, the Torah reading is a precise skill, and an online source will never give you the critical feedback.

You can do this via Skype, etc. It's not the same as a personal meeting, but, I'd think it comes close.

I hope this has been useful.

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