An Open Letter From Cantor Meyersberg
Mazal Tov! You are entering into a new stage of life for you and your family. We are so pleased to be a part of helping your child be ready to assume his/her communal responsibilities. In order to best facilitate your child’s preparation for his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, I will meet with him/her according to the arrangements made with each of our local synagogues. I meet with all children for 24-26 lessons. Beth El students start working with me approximately six and a half months in advance and finish the week of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. IHC students start approximately seven months in advance and finish two weeks before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Shaarey Tefilla students start approximately nine months in advance and finish two months before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. I look forward to working with your child.
This year, to make things easier for everyone and keep lesson times as consistent as possible, we are streamlining the scheduling process of the private tutoring lessons. If your child is preparing for Bar or Bat Mitzvah during the upcoming school year, Cantor Meyersberg will send you a letter regarding tutoring. The master schedule currently covers all students for all lessons occurring between August 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013.
The standard lesson time is 30 minutes in length. We assign each student one weekly lesson. Students requiring extra assistance will be given the opportunity to meet with another teacher at the BJE at no charge to your family, provided your child has attended Hebrew School regularly in prior years. If Cantor Meyersberg has extra time during the week she will happily add students who wish extra assistance. Please note that the more fluently your child reads Hebrew before beginning tutoring, the more successful s/he will be when it comes to Bat/Bar Mitzvah preparation.
Regular teaching hours during the school year are: Sunday 8:00 am – 1:00 pm; Monday through Thursday, 3:30 – 8:30 pm. No lessons may be scheduled for your child during their Hebrew or Sunday School time. Please provide us with five valid, varied choices as we have over 60 families to accommodate, and are unable to place your child in a lesson slot without that flexibility.
As of now, should you need to modify a tutoring time, please contact the BJE office to make the change. You may also contact other parents to make a switch among yourselves.
As always, we do ask that if an emergency arises, and you are not able to utilize the scheduled time, please contact the office as soon as possible so we may work in other students. We do our best to see that there are no disruptions to the schedule barring “acts of God” once the schedule is complete. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Cantor Meyersberg, either by email or by phone. (317) 255-3124.
The teaching agenda varies by synagogue:
- Congregation Beth-El Zedeck: Requests trope proficiency for chanting of Haftarah, Torah (at least Maftir), and their respective blessings. Cantor Meyersberg provides your child with a CD on which all the necessary materials are recorded. Should your child (or your family) desire to chant additional portions of the Torah, Cantor Meyersberg records the additional aliyot in consultation with Cantor Melissa Cohen. Cantor Cohen teaches the students how to chant the Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat Shacharit service elements.
- Congregation Etz Chaim: Your child’s course of study is determined by your family’s heritage and in collaboration with Rabbi Cowan. Elements of study include Haftarah blessings, Haftarah trope (Moroccan, Israeli or Yemenite) and Haftarah (with the appropriate trope), as well as daily service rubrics.
- Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation: The IHC requests verbal preparation of all Hebrew your child recites, including prayers from the service, Torah and Haftarah portion. Cantor Roger provides the materials for chanting for blessings, Torah portion and Haftarah portion. As your child is assigned elements to chant (s)he should chant them at BJE lessons. This includes chanting the Torah portion and Haftarah portion.
- Congregation Shaarey Tefilla: Your child’s course of study is determined in collaboration with Rabbi Sendrow, and could include any or all of these elements: learning Haftarah trope and Haftarah chanting, chanting Haftarah blessings, verbal preparation of service elements, chanting of service elements.
The half-hour weekly sessions allow your child to present what s/he has practiced all week. Whichever congregation you call home, Cantor Meyersberg’s role is to listen carefully, help your child correct any mistakes, and pinpoint any overall concern that should be addressed and corrected. Included in this are demonstrations of different practice techniques, strategizing the best ways to master the difficult spots, etc. At the end of the lesson, practice tasks are assigned to master the next week.
If you would like to know how your child is doing, you are more than welcome to sit in on a lesson. Or, note your child’s mood when you pick him or her up from the lesson. Does s/he seem frustrated? Excited? Bored? Feel free to ask questions along the way. It is helpful to tell Cantor Meyersberg of your child’s learning disabilities or behavioral tendencies that might interfere with his or her ability to master the assignments. This information allows Cantor Meyersberg to tailor the lessons for your son or daughter. It also prevents frustration for everyone involved and maximizes the effectiveness of the tutoring time.
Again, please be respectful of the other people receiving tutoring. Should you need to cancel your scheduled tutoring time, please notify either Cantor Meyersberg or the BJE receptionist at least two hours before the session so that another student may be accommodated in that time slot. If you are scheduled for additional tutoring with a Bureau tutor and you need to cancel your tutoring time with them, do call the office as soon as possible so their time is not wasted and you are not charged. In this way, everyone will benefit.