*This is a sponsored post created in partnership with Hebrew Helpers*
Growing up in a reform Jewish household in a community with a high Jewish population, it felt natural for me to attend Hebrew School, have a Bat Mitzvah, and even continue my Jewish education well into my teen years with confirmation and even a spot in the youth choir.
But raising my own interfaith – and somewhat agnostic – family has left me torn. I don’t have the interest or wherewithal to commit to religious services or synagogue membership, however, I do want to instill in my children a cultural appreciation of Jewish values and tradition. So far, this has mostly been achieved with lox, bagels, and a free subscription to Jewish-themed books from PJ Library
But as my tween gets closer to bar mitzvah age, I have thought about how I can prepare him to participate in this cultural milestone without making the commitment to Hebrew school and synagogue affiliation. So I was thrilled to learn about Hebrew Helpers.
Hebrew Helpers provides personalized Jewish education and Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation for students of all Jewish backgrounds and affiliations. They are dedicated to connecting families and communities with expert Bar/Bat Mitzvah Mentors and officiants, who tailor Jewish learning to each individual family’s needs. In addition to Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, they teach Hebrew language and general Jewish studies to children and adults.
Hebrew Helpers is dedicated to working with families from all of the Jewish movements as well as unaffiliated and interfaith families, opening the door to Jewish learning and providing options for traditional Bar/Bat Mitzvah services or creative alternatives.
They aim to provide young people with tools to navigate their own Jewish identity through understanding Jewish history, culture, ritual, text, and prayer. The company’s goal is that no family that is looking for a deeper connection and comprehension of Judaism falls through the cracks.
Mentors, who all have formal training in Jewish education, Torah and Haftarah chanting, and Hebrew language, work one-on-one with students, often supplemented by group and family sessions. In addition to teaching students to read Hebrew, chant from the Torah, recite prayers and lead a service, Hebrew Helpers Mentors engage students in meaningful conversation and lead them to discover modern relevance in Jewish learning.
For the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, Hebrew Helpers pairs students with Mentors who guide them
through every step of the process. The Mentor and Family determine the best course of study
for each individual student based on the student’s background and previous Jewish education. Although many of the students that are mentored by Hebrew Helpers participate in traditional synagogue services, they can also help plan personalized private services in the location of the family’s choice. Most students require 12 to 16 months of weekly hour-long lessons in preparation for their service.
There is also a small group learning option for groups of three to six friends or family members. These sessions provide a fun, informal, and personalized educational experience for students ages 8 to 12, meeting once to twice a month, often in one of the family homes. Sessions cover holidays, bible stories, Jewish history, beginning levels of Hebrew reading, songs, prayers, Shabbat, rituals, and traditions. Families and their Mentor often plan Sukkot, Purim and Hannukah parties together as well as model seders. And if anyone wants to start a small group with my family, we are happy to jump on board!
Learn more about the options in Philadelphia and throughout the country at www.hebrewhelpers.com.