building curiosity & character / crafting a one-of-a-kind b'mitzvah ceremony

Mensch Academy

B'Mitzvah Program for rising 6-7th Graders

embark within

the program

Mensch Academy is where pre-teens, teens, and their families explore what it means to be “the best version of ourselves” or a mensch. Mensch Academy is grounded in Mussar, a 1000-year practice of character development including study and regular practice.

All are welcome, regardless of background, affiliation, and/or family make-up. We are committed to overcoming barriers to Jewish learning and practice so that all families feel at home and welcomed in the Jewish community.

At Mensch Academy, kids are seen and valued for their whole selves, encouraging curiosity and creativity as they explore the world of Mussar and other core Jewish content, such as ritual, tefillah, and theology. In addition to curricular goals, our primary goal is to foster an environment in which kids feel safe and comfortable to be their silly adolescent selves and have fun with a peer group of Jewish kids from across the greater Portland area. We prioritize meaning making and social emotional learning. Many families also engage in parallel learning as their child prepares for becoming a B’nai Mitzvah, partnering with our team to highlight the unique character of their child as well as the values of their family as we co-create a curated coming of age ceremony.

step into this rite of passage

the ceremony

Concurrently with our bi-weekly program for 6th & 7th graders, families will work directly with the rabbi and our office team to help craft a ceremony which meets the dreams and needs of your family. 

At Mensch Academy we believe in meeting students and families where they are and receiving input on what matters most to each family to find out which type of ceremony is best to celebrate a student becoming a b’mitzvah. We are not a one-size fits all program. Therefore, not all ceremonies look the same. Once we determine the best ceremony for your family, the rabbi will draft a Tefillah Study Plan (TSP) which can be shared with the family, CST office, and your BM tutor.

Here’s a sample of types of ceremonies families have crafted:

At-home celebration, Shabbat morning in shul in our regular minyan, Shabbat late-afternoon – Mincha, Ma’ariv and Havdalah, around town or shul, Monday or Thursday morning in our daily minyan, Havdalah only, other weekday service either in the morning or in the evening, or on a Jewish holiday in which we read Torah which might fall on weekday or Sunday.

beginning in september


$900 per year for non-members.
$450 per year for members.

Program Includes:
– Sessions with students are every other Wednesday, from Sept – May*
– All sessions are hands-on and include a kosher dinner
– Adult-Only Learning Experiences
– Shabbat experiences with families
– Sukkot with Rabbi
– One-on-one meetings with Rabbi and staff to create the ceremony

In addition to the tuition fee, there is a ceremony fee of $500 to be paid prior at least 30 days prior to the b’mitzvah ceremony/celebration. This fee includes clergy support, drafting of the Tefillah Study Plan (TSP), printed b’mitzvah booklet, and logistical support of CST office staff. *See calendar for date exceptions. **Tutoring and tutoring fees are not included. Fees to the tutor should be negotiated privately and paid directly to the tutor. No prior Hebrew knowledge needed to participate in the program.

Become the best You.

Mensch Academy with Shaarie Torah