Below you will find a list of our most frequently asked questions about Tawonga’s B’nai Mitzvah program.

When does registration begin?

Registration for the 2024-25 cohort begins in November 2023:

  • Nov 7 – Priority Registration
    Who’s Eligible: Anyone who attended 2023 Summer Camp, Teen Programs, Quest, or B’nai Mitzvah Program participants (plus siblings), or Jewish Families of Color Weekend registered families
  • Nov 14 – Early Registration
    Who’s Eligible: Anyone who was enrolled in a 2023 Family Camp, Weekend Program participant, 2023 Waitlisted & Canceled families (please note that registrations for all 2023 Weekend Programs will be processed following November 15 (for both Priority and Early Registration families)
  • December 1 – Open Registration
    Open to the entire community

During the registration process you will be prompted to make a $250 non-refundable deposit. Once you submit your registration request, our registrar will send you a confirmation email within two business days letting you know your registration status.

Please contact Griz, our Assistant Director of Bay Area Programs at 415.543.2267 or at griz@tawonga.org if you need any assistance.

Does my child need to know how to read Hebrew to participate?

No! Tawonga’s B’nai Mitzvah program is designed to fit your child’s unique service and we realize this will look different for each and every family.

During our kitot (classes), all participating youth will learn the melodies of prayers using Hebrew to English transliteration and spend time understanding these prayers through creative learning processes. We will also provide the Hebrew to English transliteration of Torah and Haftorah portions, as well as the English translation. Tawonga also offers online Hebrew classes. More information will be available in the spring for new classes.

How often will the kitot (classes) meet?

Students will participate in seven classes, during the first year of the program. These classes, held on weekends, will be led by experienced and trained Tawonga staff, will incorporate interactive activities and will cover a thought-provoking curriculum.

In addition, during the first year, as safety allows, students and families will join a monthly, local, Shabbat dinner. We will also hold two shabbaton weekend retreats to kick off and wrap up the year.

What will an average class look like?

Each class will meet seven times during the first year. These dynamic programs, taught by premier and experienced Tawonga staff, will include engaging discussions about issues important and timely for teens, creative methods to understand prayers, team-building exercises, music, community guest-speakers and more! Participants will also have two weekend retreats and family engagement opportunities either in person or virtually.

How much does this program cost?

Cost of $3,825 for the 2023-2024 Year Includes:

  • Seven kitot (classes) per year
  • All experiential-learning curriculum. Year 1 focuses on Jewish blessings and values. Year 2 focuses on Torah interpretation and inheriting a tradition
  • Retreats (two per year)
  • Education and song leading from premier staff
  • Seven parent learning sessions per year
  • Monthly Family Shabbats
  • Mitzvah Project (Year 2)
  • Prayer coaching in transliteration
  • D’rash (sermon) preparation (during Year 2 only)
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Simcha coaching and support from Program Manager
  • Planning and preparation for the B’nai Mitzvah Service
  • Optional use of our Torah, Siddurim, Kippot, and Aron Kodesh (ark for the Torah).
  • Student Journal (one for each year)
  • “So You’re Having a Simcha” a guide to planning your child’s Bar, Bat or B’nai mitzvah
  • Mitzvah Project Planner
  • More info on cost here.

Additional Expenses:

  • B’nai Mitzvah service & song leaders ($800-$2000 depending on location and leader)
  • B’nai Mitzvah Hebrew tutoring
  • B’nai Mitzvah service venue

Where will the kitot (classes) meet?

Our two kitot meet in their respective locations: either San Francisco or the East Bay.

In addition to our initial B’nai Mitzvah Kick-Off Orientation, students will participate in two retreats at the Walden West Outdoor School in Saratoga. Students and families will also have the opportunity to gather with a local cohort of families from their kita for monthly Shabbat dinners and Kabbalat Shabbat services, and we are exploring more opportunities for in-person gatherings with families and program participants during the year.

When will this program start?

We will welcome our eighth cohort of 6th graders in the Fall of 2023. This is a two-year program.

Still Have Questions?

For additional questions about the program, please contact David “Griz” Griswold, Assistant Director of Bay Area Programs, at griz@tawonga.org or 415.852.4224.

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