I helped L get ready to read Torah at his son's bar mitzvah. L wrote to me after the event:
"I feel very good about my Aliyah. Thank you so much for all your help. I couldn't have done it without you. Looking forward to working with you again for my next son."
I'm glad it went so well, and looking forward to the next bar mitzvah! Mazal Tov! ... See MoreSee Less
H. converted to Judaism a few years ago, and learned the Hebrew alfabet. With me, he studied really hard to learn seven aliyot (!) to chant at his adult bar mitzvah on zoom. He also led some of the prayers. So proud of my student who worked so hard! Mazal tov! ... See MoreSee Less
Mazel Tov, a wonderful accomplishment to be proud of!!
You are the best tutor!! And mazal tov to H!
Chag Purim sameach!
Read megillah on Zoom, in front of 70 screens. ... See MoreSee Less
You do it so well, with all the emphasis,intonation and passion, as I remember. Unusual but certainly breaths life into the ceremony. Regards.
And here is my student Jacob.
Bar mitzvah in Covid times.
He read Torah beautifully. So proud of him!
Jacob continues to learn about modern Israel, as well as conversational Hebrew with me.
His little sister is preparing for her bat mitzvah with me, too. ... See MoreSee Less
"You are a real miracle worker," said the father of an upcoming bar mitzvah boy to me. Wow! ... See MoreSee Less
I am tutoring K. in Hebrew, as a complement to her studies with Rosen School of Hebrew. K. sent me a message today:
"I am so glad I have you as a tutor.
I had my 2nd Rosen class this week, and if it weren't for practice with you, I know I would have been lost.
Your tutoring is worth every penny."
Thank you, K! ... See MoreSee Less
Sophie's mother contacted me ten days before the bat mitzvah, in a panic, telling me the cantor was threatening to cut her haftarah, because Sophie didn't know it well enough. We set to work in emergency mode, practising everyday. Sophie's mother wrote to me after the celebration:
"I just wanted to let you know Sophie did an amazing job. She was flawless and confident. We couldn't have done it without your help! Many, many thanks!"
I'm so glad for Sophie! Well done! Mazal tov! ... See MoreSee Less
The father of a bar mitzvah student of mine just sent me these beautiful pictures: "Due to covid, we didn't have any guests come in from out of town. He did great putting on his tallit, tefillin, and making the brachot before and after the Torah reading." Mazal tov! I'm so proud of him! ... See MoreSee Less
מזל טוב שאני שמחה לראות שאנשים מוצאים פתרונות. כל הכבוד
Positive comments from mothers of bat mitzvah students make me happy:
"F. is not easy to motivate but she never complains about having to do lessons with you, so i know she is enjoying them. Thank you for what you do." ... See MoreSee Less
"She is enjoying your lessons!" says the mother of the non-Jewish 11 year old girl who is studying Hebrew with me.
Good thing to do in quarantine! ... See MoreSee Less
C. is working towards converting to Judaism. She has been taking Hebrew reading lessons with me.
"Bettina is very knowledgeable and patient with her students! She uses a great text that makes it easy to approach the language (that also has some online supplement materials through the publisher that are helpful for own your own practice.) I would definitely recommend Bettina!" ... See MoreSee Less
"Thanks for being such a good teacher," wrote a student who has been with me for 3 years. ... See MoreSee Less
From the mother of siblings I tutored in Sweden: "We are so grateful for all the fantastic lessons, and the children have had such a positive experience with you!" ... See MoreSee Less
Shabbat shalom! ... See MoreSee Less
I just received a nice comment from the father of a bar mitzvah boy: "We are very thankful for your work in preparing S. to be able to take this next step. He loved working with you and he would not be able to go forward with this without you and your lessons. We appreciate everything you did for us and for
him." ... See MoreSee Less
What with social distancing measures everywhere, I feel very lucky to be able to continue my work exactly as usual. If you're stuck at home, why not sign up for some lessons? ... See MoreSee Less
After celebrating her bat mitzvah, a student sent me this wonderful letter: "שלום Bettina!...Somehow, you managed to make me be completely able to read and... understand Hebrew...For me it is a huge accomplishment to read Hebrew, and now I sometimes do Duolingo to stay good at it. I can't put into words how much you helped me with that because I've been wanting to learn how to read Hebrew for a while now. I also enjoyed learning about the stories on the Torah, which I found very interesting and intriguing. You are an amazing bat mitzvah teacher.... Thank you so much for being a great teacher. " Aren't these kinds of letters what keep us going? ... See MoreSee Less
The very best tutor!!!
This is the first time I'm teaching the younger sister of a student I prepared for her bat mitzvah. It's interesting to learn how siblings are similar but not the same. I'm glad to have repeat customers like this family! ... See MoreSee Less
Happy third night of Chanukah from Edmonton, Alberta! ... See MoreSee Less
I'm so proud of my newest bat mitzvah student from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The family traveled to Calgary, Alberta to celebrate, since Yellowknife doesn't have a Jewish community. Her mom sent me these pictures: "Yes we are still basking in the glow of nachas from the Bat Mitzvah! I’m so proud!! Thank you again for the amazing work you did with T." Mazal tov, T! ... See MoreSee Less
Amazing!! Julia is doing hers in Israel!
A happy father of a bar mitzvah boy: "Thank you very much for working with Paul, he did really well and the Rabbi was happy with your prep work." ... See MoreSee Less
P clearly had a blast at his bar mitzvah recently. I was so glad to hear his father tell me I had prepared P really well. It looks like it was a really beautiful outdoor service. Mazal tov, P! ... See MoreSee Less
After studying with me for 15 months, R celebrated her bat mitzvah last Saturday. Her mom reported to me:
"She was amazing. The whole thing was perfect. I will send you pics and video as soon as I get them. Thank you so much for all your hard work. She couldn’t have been better prepared." ... See MoreSee Less
“I have found Bettina to be a patient, gentle and encouraging teacher full of relevant and effective techniques customized for me as a learner. I would highly recommend her to anyone who studies Modern Hebrew at the graduate level.” - rabbinical student ... See MoreSee Less
Right now, I am excited, because this week, parshat Lech lecha, I have not one, but TWO students who will become bat mitzvah! It's such a great parsha, and I can't wait to hear about my students reading it. (Not surprisingly, after spending months teaching this parsha, I felt very comfortable volunteering to read Torah at my own synagogue this week!) ... See MoreSee Less
V. and M. are a 16 year old sister, and 11 year old brother. They live in the medieval university town of Uppsala, Sweden. It has no organized Jewish community. Together, they are studying with me to become b'nai mitzvah. Even though their English is good, they are happy to have found a tutor who can speak to them in their native Swedish. They are learning the Hebrew alef bet, and Torah stories in English. Soon, we will start to study their Torah portion. I couldn't be more thrilled to teach this pair of enthusiastic, lovable kids! ... See MoreSee Less
Great! This couldn't have been possible without the internet.
Mazal tov to P! After studying with me for several months, P. was ready for his bar mitzvah. His dad wrote to me : "Everything went great. P. was very well prepared and everyone had a great time. I will send you some pictures later." Watch for pictures. ... See MoreSee Less
R. was born in the US, to Iraqi born Israeli parents who sometimes spoke Hebrew at home. Now in his 40s, he is great at initiating a Hebrew conversation, (with a great accent,) but gets stuck when people answer him, because he doesn't understand them. He is now taking Hebrew conversation lessons with me. We started at the beginning of the textbook, but are progressing very fast, since he is not a total beginner. I predict great success for R! ... See MoreSee Less
S. is a doctor in his fifties, who used to read Torah as a teenager. Now, he wants a refresher course in Torah trope. Together, we go over the different notes, and apply them to the text. He is learning fast. Fun! ... See MoreSee Less
Last week, I attended the adult bat mitzvah ceremony of Sylvia Silberg, in the liberal synagogue of The Hague, Netherlands. I had tutored her for ten months, and she did a fantastic job, reading Torah and Haftarah! We can both be seen in this picture, up on Bimah during the Torah reading. Here is what she writes:
When I turned 12 in 1974 there was absolutely no possibility for me to do a Bat Mitzwa. At that time my family was a member of the only synagogue in Munich , Germany and that was an orthodox one. Women and girls sat upstairs behind bars and followed the services from up there. Although I was told girls have other responsibilities that are also important, it never quite felt a fair deal. Boys and men were not only allowed to read Torah but could also give their view and interpretation of the Torah portion. Their contributions were celebrated and boys were seen as
“real “ members of the community.
It is that last aspect in particular that motivated me , now 45 years later to do my Bat Mitzwa.I felt women may have a different view on the scriptures and it was therefore important to combine both male and female interpretations to have a more complete body of meaning. In my current conservative synagogue in The Hague , the Netherlands, the services are completely egalitarian and we also have a female Rabbi. So everything is possible for women to do.
Bettina was an excellent teacher, patient and supportive in those moments when I thought I would never pull through. She also accommodated to my work schedule and provided me with excellent recordings of her own beautiful voice. All sessions were done on Skype and that was no problem at all.
Being 57 years old and a psychologist as well as a student of literature allowed me to integrate the Torah into a wealth of knowledge I had no access to as a 12 year old. As we find new interpretations of the Haggadah every Seder Pessach so the Torah portions will light up our intellect as we go through life, every period or year highlighting other aspects of our then present life situations.
I would recommend fellow women who like me were not able to go through this rite of passage in puberty to still take the step up the Bimah now. It is not only a personal enrichment but also allows the community to really receive what women have to offer as well.
Bettina is a great example and a mentor of having studied to become a cantor herself as well as supporting you in all aspects in your delving into your Jewish heritage and your journey towards personal and communal meaning. I can strongly recommend this so enriching process. ... See MoreSee Less
בהצלחה ומזל טוב לשניכם.
"Eli and Zoe were just beaming. When they read from the Torah there wasn't a closed mouth or a dry eye in the room. We couldn't have done it without you," reports a happy grandmother from Florida.
Another set of twins successfully brought into the community of Jewish adults. ... See MoreSee Less
Over 200 likes on my Facebook page. Woohoo! Thank you all! ... See MoreSee Less
Great choice of text to display!
"You encourage, support, give wonderful expertise and show interest and compassion. Through you, my E. and Z. have been introduced to the 'ways' of Judaism and I will be forever grateful." The words of a happy grandmother. ... See MoreSee Less
The mother of a teenager I tutor wrote to me: "I love your website. If I know anyone looking for a tutor, I will pass your information along to them. So you know, A. LOVES working with you. She talks about you and looks forward to her lessons every week." So nice to hear! ... See MoreSee Less
Visiting the israel pavilion at the Edmonton Heritage Festival. ... See MoreSee Less
...and part two of this twin bar/bat mitzvah in Israel! Mazal tov! ... See MoreSee Less
I recently taught N. and L., twin brother and sister, for their bar and bat mitzvah, which they did on the top of Masada in Israel. Their father wrote, "L. and N. did a fantastic job on their Torah portions... Thank you so much for helping prepare them! " ... See MoreSee Less
Wow! Right on top of Masada!
As summer break starts, many people go on vacation. But if you take online lessons, Jewish learning doesn't have to stop. I will connect with you, wherever you are! Happy summer! ... See MoreSee Less
Moadim l'simcha! ... See MoreSee Less
My 11 year old student read the Four Questions in Hebrew first time this week, and REALLY impressed her family! ... See MoreSee Less
C contacts me before Rosh Hashana and Pesach, to help her prepare to read Torah for her minyan. She apparently aced it this weekend. This is what she wrote to me: "Thank you once again for your help. The Torah reading went wonderfully!" ... See MoreSee Less
My student J just had his bar mitzvah. His mother wrote to me afterwards: "(He) did so well, it was a wonderful day! He was very nervous at the start, but as he got going he relaxed and he really did a good job. We were so proud of him, and he was very proud of himself.
Thank you so much for all of your help teaching him, for your patience and your kindness. He was very well prepared." ... See MoreSee Less
Thank you, Ben!🙂
Bettina is the best teacher!
It's cute to see mother and daughter studying conversational Hebrew together. The daughter is 11, and has no prior knowledge of Hebrew. The mother has Hebrew school Hebrew from her childhood, and remembers a little. This summer, they are travelling to Israel together to attend ulpan, intensive Hebrew training. Good luck to them! ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks, Anissa Hersh. Great picture of the two of you!
Your classes have given us the confidence to go!!
There is such a variety of students coming my way: They live in Sweden, the Netherlands, all over the US and Canada! ... See MoreSee Less
Who would have thought? A new bat mitzvah student from the city of Yellowknife. In the Canadian Northwest Territories. Jewish population : one family. I'm glad to be of service. ... See MoreSee Less
Happy last day of Hanukkah! ... See MoreSee Less
L and I met while taking summer classes at the Conservative Yeshiva last summer. After we all returned to our homes, she contacted me to tell me she would like to keep up her Hebrew. So twice a week we study online together, using the Brandeis Modern Hebrew textbook. She sets the pace, and I help her fill in the gaps she has from previous Hebrew studies. ... See MoreSee Less
Since A, 14, went to Jewish day school for middle school only, she was constantly behind in Hebrew. The 8th grade graduation trip to Israel turned her on to the language, however, and now that she is in public high school, she wants to study modern Hebrew with me. We meet online twice a week for thirty minutes, and she is filling in the gaps, and progressing quickly. ... See MoreSee Less
I just heard from the mother of a girl I tutored for her bat mitzvah:
Ohh Bettina she was beyond amazing!! She left her mark and set the bar high that is for sure. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and help! We appreciate your tutoring so much and could not have done it without you!!! ... See MoreSee Less
The young woman who is attending Rabbinical school feels she needs some help with her Hebrew class. Twice a week, we study from her textbook to get her caught up. ... See MoreSee Less
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. Wishing you a meaningful fast. ... See MoreSee Less
Z & E are twins. A boy and a girl. Their grandmother contacted me about preparing them to become bnai mitzvah. It's fun to see the friendly competition between them as they take turns reading in Hebrew for me. ... See MoreSee Less
K, 11, has been living in Nevada with her family for two years, and they haven't found a synagogue to join. K will be celebrating her bat mitzvah in Israel in the summer of 2019. I am giving her weekly lessons in Hebrew reading and Torah stories. In a few months, I will start to teach her the specific texts she will chant her for her bat mitzvah ceremony. ... See MoreSee Less
Things are just hopping here at jewtor. Just signed up THREE new families for bar/bat mitzvah lessons! ... See MoreSee Less
12 year old S is an amazing student. In preparation for becoming a bat mitzvah, she takes charge of her learning. "Can we practice the haftarah now?" she asks me. Or "let's go over the prayers." She'll go far, I predict. ... See MoreSee Less
Chanting Lamentations /Eicha in Jerusalem. ... See MoreSee Less
Reading Lamentations outside, overlooking Jerusalem, as we commemorate the destruction of the Holy Temples. ... See MoreSee Less
A. is hoping to go through a conversion process. His rabbi told him to pick a book from Torah to learn. He is studying Ecclesiastes (Qohelet) with me.We read both the Hebrew and English, as well as commentaries. We'll finish this rich text in a few months. ... See MoreSee Less
B. has been learning Hebrew with me for a little over a year now. I think it was after he learned the past tense that his conversational skills really took off. I call him up, and he tells me what he did over the weekend! In correct Hebrew! Proud of my student. But we keep on studying. There is much to learn. 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less