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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


At what age should my child celebrate their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah?

Traditionally, a boy becomes bar mitzvah at age 13 and a girl becomes bat mitzvah at age 12. The majority of non-Orthodox parents choose to celebrate their daughter’s bat mitzvah at age 13. While becoming bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah are automatic when the child reaches that age milestone, parents can mark this milestone at any time (so it’s never too late to celebrate a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Therefore, your child’s bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah can be at any time after they reach 13 for a boy and 12 for a girl. Traditionally, this is according to their Hebrew birthday, which Rabbi Jason can help you determine. There is no maximum age for a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. While most Jewish teenagers celebrate their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah at age 13, they can celebrate this milestone at any age. Rabbi Jason works with all ages to prepare for a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah.


How long in advance do I need to schedule my child's bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah?

Ideally, you should try to schedule your child’s bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah date at least 2 years in advance. Some parents book their child’s mitzvah date 6 months in advance and some book their child’s mitzvah date 6 years in advance. There is no right answer, but you’ll have more choices of dates the earlier you book and get on Rabbi Jason’s mitzvah schedule. If you’re worried that you waited too long to schedule your child’s mitzvah, don’t be… just ask Rabbi Jason and he’ll try to accommodate you.


My Jewish child says they don't want to have a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. What should I do?

The bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah are rites of passage for Jewish teens. You can explain that they will be continuing a longstanding tradition in their family and ensuring their family’s Jewish heritage continues for another generation. While there are many choices we allow children to make, a life-cycle event like a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is an expectation we have for our children rather than a choice they can make. Truthfully, a twelve-year-old is too young to make such an important decision that will affect other family members like Jewish grandparents. Rabbi Jason is always available to talk with children who are ambivalent or anxious about having a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Many Jewish children who were ambivalent at first about having a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah are ultimately grateful that they went through with it.


Do you offer virtual bar/bat mitzvah or in-person bar/bat mitzvah officiation?

Both in-person bar/bat mitzvahs and virtual bar/bat mitzvahs are available. Some families opt to have a hybrid service with some guests in person and some guests attending virtually. Rabbi Jason is available to come to the venue to officiate the bar/bat mitzvah service or officiate virtually using Zoom.


Bat Mitzvah Rabbi - Rabbi for HireDo you offer destination bar/bat mitzvah services?

Yes, Rabbi Jason offers destination bar/bat mitzvah services. Recent destination bar/bat mitzvahs have included places like Israel, the Grand Canyon, Mexico, Aruba, Hawaii, Italy, Switzerland, the Caribbean, Aspen/Vail, Disney World, Paris, Greece, Stowe Vermont, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Punta Cana Dominican Republic, Jay Peak, Newport Rhode Island, the Hamptons, and Rehoboth Beach. Additionally, Rabbi Jason Miller is available for bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah services in Israel. Click here for more information about destination bar mitzvahs and destination bat mitzvahs.


What time of day is the service supposed to be for a bar/bat mitzvah?

It is up to you. The most common times for the bar/bat mitzvah service are Saturday evening (Havdallah service), Saturday morning or Friday evening. Some families choose to have a Rosh Chodesh service (the first day of the Jewish month). If there is a particular day and time you’d like the bar/bat mitzvah service, just discuss this with Rabbi Jason.


How far in advance should my son/daughter begin the tutoring process with you?

Ideally, one year in advance of the bar/bat mitzvah date is the best time to begin the bar/bat mitzvah tutoring sessions. However, some students begin earlier and some begin later.


How do you schedule the tutoring?

Rabbi Jason has a shared Google calendar for you to choose the best day and time for your son or daughter to receive bar/bat mitzvah training.


Where are you based?

Rabbi Jason is based in Metro Detroit and will travel to wherever your bar/bat mitzvah venue will be. Travel costs will be itemized following the bar/bat mitzvah and submitted for reimbursement.


What is your fee to officiate a bar/bat mitzvah or bat mitzvah?

There are different officiation fees depending on whether the bar/bat mitzvah is local or requires traveling. After an initial phone call and Zoom orientation meeting, you will receive a contract with the officiation fee. A 50% deposit is required to save the date of the bar/bat mitzvah. The fee includes the use of a full-sized Torah scroll, a beautiful certificate created by the artist Julie Staller-Pentelnik exclusively for The Mitzvah Rabbi, and the creation of a fully customized prayer booklet, which other rabbis charge over $500 to create.


What type of travel expenses should we expect if we live in a different state than you?

Typically, travel expenses include round-trip airfare, ground transportation, and one night in a hotel. All travel expenses will be clearly spelled out in the contract.


Bar Mitzvah Rabbi with Torah

How many tutoring sessions are there?

If Rabbi Jason provides tutoring, the sessions are either weekly or biweekly for 30 minutes on Zoom. Tutoring sessions are billed individually on the day of the lesson and can be paid by Venmo, Zelle or PayPal. Typically, most students are able to be prepared after only 20 tutoring sessions. Some students require more sessions and some require less. It is also possible for the student to receive tutoring from another bar/bat mitzvah instructor. *If another instructor will be offering bar/bat mitzvah training for your child, Rabbi Jason will still require three sessions prior to the bar/bat mitzvah.


Do you offer tutoring in person or virtually?

Currently, all bar/bat mitzvah tutoring is done virtually using Zoom.


Do you create a prayer book (siddur) for the bar/bat mitzvah service and if so what is the process?

Yes, the officiation fee for a bar/bat mitzvah includes the creation of a customized prayer booklet for the service. This prayer booklet serves as both a custom siddur (prayer book) and a program for the ceremony. Rabbi Jason will create this prayer booklet in consultation with you. The cost associated with printing the booklet is separate. Rabbi Jason can have the booklets printed (at your expense), or you can have them printed at the printer of your choice.


Do you have your own Torah scroll that you bring to the bar/bat mitzvah service?

Yes, I will bring a full-size kosher Torah to the bar/bat mitzvah.


What if my son/daughter never went to Hebrew school?

Hebrew school is not a requirement. Many students did not attend Hebrew school and some only attended for a short period of time. Regardless of Hebrew literacy background, Rabbi Jason will prepare your son/daughter for the bar/bat mitzvah service.


What if my son/daughter does not know how to read Hebrew?

Rabbi Jason works with students of all levels and abilities. The tutoring sessions will be geared to your child’s ability.


My son/daughter attends a Jewish day school so they already can read Hebrew and know many of the Jewish prayers. Will they feel challenged enough during the bar and bat mitzvah preparation?

Rabbi Jason works with students of all levels and abilities, including students who attend a Jewish day school and have strong Jewish literacy. They will feel challenged during the preparation of their bar or bat mitzvah, and they will feel a strong sense of accomplishment on their big day. The tutoring sessions will be geared to your child’s ability.


Do you work with students who have special needs and require learning accommodations?

Yes, since 2001 Rabbi Jason has been working with children with special needs to prepare them for the bar/bat mitzvah service. Rabbi Jason has vast experience accommodating students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, autism spectrum disorder, ADD and ADHD. Additionally, Rabbi Jason has worked with students who stutter and have other speech impairments. One-on-one bar/bat mitzvah preparation is the best solution for students who have learning differences.

The Mitzvah Rabbi - Rabbi Jason Miller - Bat Mitzvah Service


What do we need at the service?

A list of all the things you’ll need at the bar/bat mitzvah service will be provided one month prior to the bar mitzvah. In general, you should expect to have a 6-foot table (for the Torah), a kiddush cup with wine or grape juice, challah bread with a knife, yarmulkes (kippahs) and a tallit for the bar/bat mitzvah. Additional items may include Shabbat candles (if it’s a Friday evening service), Havdalah set (if it’s a Saturday night service) and candy to throw (it’s a fun custom).


Do we have to provide yarmulkes (kippahs, Jewish head coverings)?

Most families provide yarmulkes (kippahs), but it is optional. Rabbi Jason can also bring up to 1 dozen yarmulkes to the service.


Do we have to provide a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl)?

Yes, a tallit (new or hand-me-down) for the bar/bat mitzvah is required at the service.


Are microphones necessary?

Microphones are optional at the bar/bat mitzvah service, but if you think it will be difficult for guests to hear the service without microphones, they are recommended. Either wireless or wired microphones are fine.


How long is the bar/bat mitzvah service?

The bar/bat mitzvah service will be between 45 minutes and 55 minutes. This will give your guests enough time to transition to the celebration afterward.


Do we need to hire a photographer and videographer for the bar/bat mitzvah service?

A photographer and videographer are both optional for the bar/bat mitzvah service. Rabbi Jason does not object to flash photography during the service. Both photographs and videos are a wonderful way to help remember this beautiful event in your child’s Jewish lifecycle.


If we have a Zoom virtual bar/bat mitzvah service, who sets up the Zoom?

You are responsible for setting up the Zoom camera or computer at the service. Rabbi Jason is happy to help with this service and make recommendations based on his experience with Zoom bar/bat mitzvahs.


How long are the tutoring sessions?

Each tutoring session is 30 minutes long. Most students are scheduled for bar/bat mitzvah tutoring sessions every other week, but some are scheduled for weekly. Some students change from bi-weekly to weekly as their bar/bat mitzvah date approaches.


Destination Bar Mitzvah - Rabbi for Bar Mitzvahs at Venue of Your ChoiceAre there scholarships available for bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs?

Yes, there are financial scholarships available for both bar/bat mitzvah services as well as tutoring sessions. These are all need-based scholarships. Inquire with Rabbi Jason for more information and an application.


Why would we hire a rabbi from a different state If we have rabbis who live much closer to us?

This is the most common question Rabbi Jason receives. Rabbi Jason is based in the Metro Detroit area and has officiated at bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah services all over the world. While there are rabbis all over (and dozens in large metropolitan cities), families have a choice when it comes to selecting a rabbi to officiate their child’s bar/bat mitzvah. For the past twenty years, Rabbi Jason has been in high demand for bar and bat mitzvah officiation.


How do you handle time zone differences for bar/bat mitzvah tutoring?

Rabbi Jason has tutored students in every U.S. time zone including Hawaii. He has also tutored bar/bat mitzvah students in London, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. Don’t worry… wherever you live, the time zone difference will be accommodated.


Do you work with children from Interfaith families?

Yes, Rabbi Jason will work with all children from interfaith families. You can learn more about bar mitzvahs for children of interfaith families here and bat mitzvahs for children of interfaith families here.


Do you work with children who are over the age of 13 and never had a bar/bat mitzvah before?

Yes, Rabbi Jason will work with bar/bat mitzvah students who are over the age of 13. If your son or daughter never had a bar or bat mitzvah, it’s never too late to officially mark this Jewish lifecycle event. Rabbi Jason routinely works with students who are 14-19, as well as officiating adult bar/bat mitzvahs. While the traditional age is 13 for a bar mitzvah (boy) and 12 for a bat mitzvah (girl), the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony can take place at any time after these birthdays.


Are most of the families you work with unaffiliated with a synagogue or Temple congregation?

Rabbi Jason works with both congregation-affiliated families as well as families who are not affiliated with a congregation.


Which type of venue should we consider using to have the bar/bat mitzvah service?

The venue for the bar/bat mitzvah is completely up to you. Over the past two decades, Rabbi Jason has officiated bar/bat mitzvahs in many different venues including catering halls, hotels, homes, country clubs, parks, stadiums, activity facilities, restaurants, summer camps, synagogues, botanical gardens, historical landmarks, etc. You should be as creative as you want and try to find the right venue for the event you are trying to create. Rabbi Jason will be happy to share some ideas with you.


Are there discounts for siblings, twins, triplets, etc?

Yes, there are discounts for additional siblings, whether they are the same age (twins, triplets, etc.) or not.


How is tutoring handled when there are multiple students?

Siblings can share the tutoring session at no additional fee.


At the service, do we need a Cantor or musician?

A musician is optional. Rabbi Jason works with several guitarists and musicians around the country and can recommend one for your service.


Rabbi for Bat Mitzvah Ceremony - Have Torah Will TravelWho creates the service?

Rabbi Jason will create the bar/bat mitzvah service in cooperation with the bar/bat mitzvah student. Each bar/bat mitzvah service is tailor-made for each student. No two bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies are the same… because no two teens are the same.


Are there any English readings at the service for our family members to participate?

Yes, there are many English readings, including poems and prayers, that will be incorporated into the service for family members to read. These will be in English and anyone can lead these sections of the service.


How does payment for the bar/bat mitzvah work?

Payment can be made by Zelle, Venmo or a personal check. Credit card payments are accepted with a 3.0% processing fee. A 50% payment is required as a balance to begin the bar/bat mitzvah process and to secure a date. The balance for the bar/bat mitzvah fee is due 2 weeks prior to the simcha (event). If there is a cancellation, 50% of the deposit will be returned up to 1 year before the bar/bat mitzvah date. Within 1 year, 50% of the deposit will be returned if and when a replacement bar/bat mitzvah is scheduled for that weekend.


How does payment for the bar/bat mitzvah tutoring sessions work?

Payment for each tutoring session is due within 24 hours of the tutoring session using either Zelle or Venmo. Payment is still required for a tutoring session cancellation made less than 24 hours in advance.


What is your bar/bat mitzvah rescheduling policy?

Rescheduling the date of a bar/bat mitzvah is possible so long as there is availability for the new date. There is no fee to reschedule.


What is your bar/bat mitzvah cancellation policy?

If there is a cancellation, 50% of the deposit will be returned up to 1 year before the bar/bat mitzvah date. Within 1 year, 50% of the deposit will be returned if and when a replacement bar/bat mitzvah is scheduled for that weekend.


Which payment methods do you accept?

 Payment via Venmo or Zelle is preferred. Payment via PayPal or personal check sent via U.S. Mail is also accepted.


What is your tutoring fee and is it per session?

Tutoring sessions are $80 per session and billed on the same date as the session.


Are travel costs built into the fee of the bar/bat mitzvah?

Travel costs are not part of the bar/bat mitzvah officiation fee. They will be invoiced for reimbursement of the actual cost of travel. For most out-of-state bar/bat mitzvahs, the travel costs incurred are typically round-trip airfare, 1-night lodging in a hotel, and a rental car or Uber/Lyft/Taxi.