Raising the Bar Mitzvah: Reimagining What Our Kids Learn

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This is a book about embracing change for one of the most sacred ceremonies in Jewish tradition: the Bar Mitzvah. The current model of Bar Mitzvah training doesn’t seem to resonate with teenagers today. Cantor Matt Axelrod explains why the ceremony should be adapted to combine personal interests (art, music, sports) to the original traditions. This connection allows a more positive path to preparing and learning about the ceremony and its rich traditions. The book will challenge the status quo of the past as a new generation of Hebrew leadership emerges, and proposes to become the resource guide of choice to better prepare synagogues for reuniting students (and parents!) to the Bar Mitzvah tradition and celebration.


Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide


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  • In Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Cantor Matt Axelrod provides a practical, humorous guide for Jewish students and their families as they prepare for their “big day.” Breezy and friendly yet reassuring and focused, Axelrod easily cuts through the fear and stress that teens often feel in the months leading up to their bar or bat mitzvah. In addition to helping the student prepare for the bar or bat mitzvah by walking the reader through the service and providing helpful study tips for learning a Torah and haftarah portion,Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah also helps both students and their families cope with the stressors associated with the planning of the celebration, addressing everything from teens’ fears about making mistakes to time management skills to dealing with family over/underinvolvement. Cantor Axelrod’s experience helping hundreds of teens prepare for their b’nei mitzvah will help students and families not just survive but understand and enjoy this important Jewish milestone.

Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder


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  • Recent years have seen an increased interest in Jewish life, its culture, and its celebrations. There are many new students of Judaism, often potential converts or members of interfaith families who are seeking to learn more about the religion and its rituals. Unfortunately, many of the existing texts that examine the Jewish holidays are written in a dry, unexciting way, making it difficult for the reader to retain much information. For those seeking to learn more about Jewish celebrations, Cantor Matt Axelrod has written Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder. Intended for the reader who has no prior knowledge about the Jewish holidays as well as the reader who knows the basics about the holidays but wants to understand the holidays on a deeper level, Axelrod’s book takes a humorous, light-hearted look at the 11 most important Jewish holidays. Instead of simply explaining that Jews are obligated to observe in a certain way because of a biblical text, Axelrod shows where each holiday, along with its rituals, came from in an historical context. He provides a humorous re-telling of the biblical passages relating to the holiday, explorations of rituals associated with each holiday, and descriptions of traditional foods. Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays also features special sections labeled “In Depth” or “Perfect for Families” that expand upon elements of each holiday in ways that provide greater understanding of traditions or that invite the reader to get the rest of the family involved.