Browse Hal's Site

Inclusive, joyful Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies

Hal and Risa Aqua co-lead bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies that embody a commitment to Jewish tradition while honoring every family’s unique journey.

Risa Aqua
 has tutored hundreds of students for bar/bat mitzvah. She teaches Hebrew, uses her own proven method for teaching Torah and Haftarah trope, and works with her students to develop their connection to and insights into their Torah portion. A longtime teacher at B’nai Havurah’s religious school, Risa is known for her rapport with students, her fun and engaging approach, and her love for Hebrew and Torah study.

Hal Aqua serves as music director for B’nai Havurah, Denver’s Reconstructionist congregation, and as songleader at Temple Micah, a Denver Reform synagogue. He studied prayer leadership at the Davvenen Leadership Training Institute at Elat Chayyim in update New York and is an accomplished shaliach tzibbur (prayer leader) working in Reform, Reconstructionist, and Renewal settings. Hal’s approach to using music in services emphasizes flexibility and intentionality; his repertoire draws from traditional and contemporary Jewish liturgical melodies as well as songs by the Beatles and Bob Marley.

Together we work with students and their families to craft a unique and inclusive experience that is firmly grounded in Jewish tradition and history but not bound to a particular denomination or ideology. The services we co-lead with our students combine deep learning with warmth and informality.

Please contact us at or 303-388-4441 to find out how we can help you take the next step in your family’s Jewish journey.

“Owen’s Bar Mitzvah experience was absolutely perfect. The confidence and joy you instilled in him is remarkable. He stood up there and enjoyed every aspect of his day.”

“The service had the perfect balance of reverence, tradition and simcha. Olivia was so well prepared and truly enjoyed the preparation process with Risa. We’re so glad we found such thoughtful, knowledgeable and wise guides to help us honor this passage in such a satisfying way.” 

“You made Nathan’s service so uplifting, meaningful and fun! We are so lucky to have both of you!”

“We can’t thank you enough for officiating Emma’s Bat Mitzvah. Your support and patience was is so evident with the right team what Emma is capable of.”

“You have been an incredible tutor for Dayna—thank you for teaching her everything she needed to succeed in becoming Bat Mitzvah.”

“We will always be grateful for the tremendously beautiful service you led for Haiden’s Bar Mitzvah. Your patience and loving guidance gave him the confidence to do his very best.”

“Roger and I are still in awe of Brandon’s accomplishments this weekend. He couldn’t have done it without you both!”

“Because of you both it was a beautiful, amazing experience for all involved.”