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Bar / Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies

Let Rabbi Debra Smith help you and your child create a bar or bat mitzvah celebration that is “Joyous Judaism” at its best—relevant and meaningful, participatory and fun—and personalized to reflect your family’s values

Rabbi Deb performs Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies for:

  • Unaffiliated families who would like to celebrate a child’s bar/bat mitzvah in a location of their choice.

  • Children who require additional bar/bat mitzvah preparation beyond what is offered at your religious school.

  • Children who have special needs or learning differences and children who are gifted learners.

  • Families who want a unique and personalized event that offers you, your child, and your family significant input into its content and design.

  • .…as well as adults seeking to mark their engagement in Judaism in a way they were not able to as teens.


Rabbi Deb’s program of learning for bar/bat mitzvah preparation covers all the basics of Jewish learning, embracing input from you and your child, so that your special interests guide what they will learn and focus on. Your child’s special talents and skills, such as playing a musical instrument or singing, dance or movement, writing poetry or doing crafts or art projects, can be incorporated into the bar/bat mitzvah.

Rabbi Deb’s priority is that your child’s bar/bat mitzvah ceremony will be spiritually meaningful to your child and to your family. While all services follow a basic format, there is a lot of flexibility to integrate the many “personal touches” which will make this celebration uniquely YOU.

Traditionally, a ceremony includes the child leading prayers, reading or chanting from the Torah scroll, chanting a Haftarah (portion of the Prophets), giving a short talk or a teaching in English about the section of the Torah your child has read, and completing a “Mitzvah Project.”

There are many ways to creatively adapt the service to showcase the abilities and talents of each student. There are numerous ways for parents, grandparents, relatives and friends to be involved in the service so that each service becomes a truly inter-generational celebration.

For the B’ Mitzvah training and ceremony, Rabbi Deb provides—


For Your Child’s Preparation

  • Family centered, personalized bar/bat mitzvah training

  • Customized programs for students with special learning needs and for gifted learners.

  • Lessons in-person or by video call: Zoom/Skype/FaceTime

  • Personal study guides

  • Audio recordings: MP3 and CDs with prayers and Torah and/or Haftarah readings

  • Bar/Bat mitzvah speech/teaching assistance

  • Mitzvah project guidance as part of Reb Deb’s Teen Social Justice Fellows Program

For Your Ceremony

  • Audio recordings for family members’ Hebrew parts or blessings

  • Full-size Torah (Option or smaller size Torah with tabletop Ark)

  • English-Hebrew prayer books

For a Lifetime

  • Personal blessing, suitable for framing, created for student and family.

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah certificate and gift for student

Fee for this service:

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Tutoring: $85 per 45-minute sessions

Officiate at Ceremny: $1,250 - $1,500 (Deposit of $500 expected)

Torah Rental Fee: $250

Siddurim Rental Fee (maximum 100 books): $200

Add a cantorial soloist to any of the services: $200.

Members of Or Ha Lev receive a 10% discount off life cycle services.

“We want to thank you for all your hard work to prepare our son for his Bar Mitzvah. Your encouragement and positive attitude were exactly what he needed to keep motivated.”

M.M., Warren County NJ

“Thank you for all of your help in preparing our son for his Bar Mitzvah and for your support and calming reassurance along the way.” 


S.B., Randolph, NJ

“Without your passion for Jewish education and children, our daughter would not be as confident and prepared as she was for her Bat Mitzvah. There are no adequate words to express how grateful we are for the good fortune of being able to know you. May you continue to do what you love and are so good at, inspiring Jewish youth!” 

S.S., Rockaway, NJ

“Your teaching, understanding and support helped me stand up there and do a great job reading my Torah portion. I believe that “when we are ready, a teacher will appear.” I was ready … and there you were for me! You make such a large difference in my life. Todah rabbah!” 

H.B. (adult learner), Rockaway, NJ

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