Become a Bar Mitzvah Tutor
By Eric Hammer
While this is a job primarily aimed at Jews, anyone can do
this who knows how to chant the torah (the Jewish bible) and
for that matter, in many cases, its enough to simply know
how to read (and teach) biblical Hebrew. The reality is that
in this day and age, Jewish children, both boys and girls are
looking to have a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. These ceremonies
are where the child becomes a man or a woman.
In Reform and Conservative synagogues (along with other lesser
known liberal branches of Judaism such as Reconstructionist and
Renewal Judaism), both boys and girls will be called upon to
chant a portion of the torah for their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah
ceremony (the bar mitzvah is for a boy and the bat mitzvah is
for a girl). However, because non Orthodox Jews often send their
children to public school rather than Jewish day schools, many
of these children do not know how to read Hebrew and certainly
not how to chant the torah (there is a special tune which is
used when doing so). This means that you can make good money
by becoming a bar or bat mitzvah tutor.
In orthodox circles, it is possible to get work as a bar mitzvah
tutor, however girls generally are not permitted to chant the
torah portion and thus will not be in need of such a tutor.
How Much Can You Make?
The amount you can make tutoring children for their bar mitzvah
or bat mitzvah celebrations varies widely since it depends on
which community you work with and how much money they have. Typical
salaries however are in the range of about $40-$50 per hour for
private tutoring or a little more for group tutoring. It may
also be possible to work in a temple with a small group, though
this job is often done by the rabbi of the temple.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
In addition to helping children to learn how to read Hebrew
for their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah celebrations, it is also
possible to make money by helping these children with writing
their speech and with speech presentation. Since most children
are not natural born public speakers, many parents will hire
professionals to help coach their children to give their bar
mitzvah or bat mitzvah speech in an effective and pleasing manner.
In all cases, remember that youll need to show your
qualifications. You dont need to be a rabbi to do this,
though in most cases, its expected that youll be
Jewish (although its not absolutely required, especially
from non Orthodox streams of Judaism) and have enough education
to be able to instruct the child on how to perform the ceremonial
chanting of the torah. Its also helpful if you can provide
children with a basic background in Jewish philosophy and faith
so that they can learn more about their heritage rather than
just learn Hebrew.
Keep in mind as well that some adults will also choose to
have their own bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah
celebration. This often happens when their parents either didnt
bother doing it with them as a child or when they feel that the
experience wasnt what they quite wanted. In these cases,
youll also be tutoring these people in how to read the
Torah, though the work is of course slightly different since
youre working with older people who are often quite successful
Qualifications / Requirements
There are no formal requirements to become a bar mitzvah tutor.
However, you do need to know how to chant the torah and how to
teach the skills to a child. In many cases, youll need
to be Jewish; though you dont necessarily need to be Jewish
by Orthodox standards (i.e. Reform Jews can be Jewish if they
had a Jewish parent whereas Orthodox and Conservative Jews must
have a Jewish mother. In all three cases, it is possible to convert
Start by contacting your local synagogue or temple and asking
them if they have need for a bar mitzvah tutor. You can also
put up ads in Jewish areas of town to provide your services to
the people at large. Start by charging below market rates in
order to guarantee that youll have enough customers.