Junior Chai

Junior Chai for Grades 6-8:

The Path to Bar and Bat Mitzvah


Our Junior Chai program is one of our longest-standing programs. Students in 6th-8th grades meet regularly in a relaxed atmosphere where they individually work toward being called to the Torah and becoming Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Not every Bar/Bat Mitzvah service looks the same, so neither will their journey. After their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, students integrate into the JCo community through their talents, passions, and interests. Junior Chai is not only a class; participants also plan programs and events for the middle-school community and for all of JCo.

Do you have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah coming up? Are you feeling overwhelmed and asking questions such as “When should I start planning? Where should we have it? Who should we hire and What should we serve?”. Well, never fear!  The Mitzvah Moms are here! Robyn Conlin (conlin_r@yahoo.com) and Jessica Melendez (jessicamelendez@att.net) will take you by the hand and lead you through this unfamiliar journey that proves to be one of the best ones for the family and the student. The Rabbi will work with each family to make it the experience that they want it to be.  Some of our students choose to lead the entire service chanting each prayer and Torah portion while many others focus on a particular project or service that they present during the ceremony. And while some students prepare a d’rash or a speech, others present their Torah portion in more creative ways. At a recent Bat Mitzvah, Noa, our Rabbi’s daughter, chanted her Joseph portion to the tune of the Broadway Musical, Joseph and the Many Colored Coat. The entire congregation is proud of our children and loves to attend the service, especially on a Saturday morning.  Although in the past, both services and celebrations, were held in other venues, more and more kids are asking to have the whole thing at home, meaning at JCo. 

This article from L’Chaim San Diego Magazine, November 2015 nicely captures what we do.


JCo Membership includes both Junior Chai, Hebrew Lab and LOMED programs. 

B’nei Mitzvah preparation costs $500 per child. This covers the cost of Gabi’s time in preparation for the service, the theme and tutoring.  Additional $200 is the cost of the cleaning fee.  Lastly, we ask each family to make a $500 refundable security deposit. 

Membership is required for all families enrolled in our Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and needs to be up to date six months prior to the ceremony. 

For more information, please contact Admin@JCoSD.com.