Below are excerpts from our bar/bat mitzvah blogs intended for your bar/bat mitzvah. Please share these with your bar/bat mitzvah child.
What Does “Bar/Bat Mitzvah” Mean?
“Bar” means “male” and “bat” means “female”. “Mitzvah” means one is responsible for performing the “mitzvot” or “commandments.” After your bar/bat mitzvah you will be seen as an adult, responsible for all of your actions.
When Preparing Your Torah Teaching:
Read the Torah and haftarah portions for the week of your celebration in English (and Hebrew, if possible)?
- As you read, note any interesting ideas or topics in either (or both) text.
- Is there one idea or topic especially interesting? Why?
- How does this subject relate to contemporary life?
- How does it relate to your life and the experience of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah?
- Are there other textual or cultural sources (e.g., a movie, painting, poem) on your topic that might help deepen or clarify your thoughts?
- Choose at least one person with whom you can have an ongoing conversation about your bar/bat mitzvah teaching as you develop your thoughts and writing (over the course of a few months). How often will you check in with them? Who else could be helpful in developing and drafting your presentation?
Elements of your speech (10-12 minutes):
- Welcome– Greet and thank all those present and those with you in spirit
- Introduction– What will you be sharing with your community and why?
- Torah Lesson– What is one key lesson you learned from your studies?
- Contemporary & Personal Connections– Why does it matter today, to you?
- Give Thanks– Honor the people who helped you prepare and who helped you grow into a bar/bat mitzvah
- Enjoy– Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment, knowing you have worked hard and contributed to your community!
- What is one issue or that you care about? Why?
- What talents or skills do you possess that you can apply to this cause?
- Who can help you address this issue meaningfully?
- What are 2-3 goals you want to accomplish through this mitzvah project?
Some things to think about…
How do you envision your bar/bat Mitzvah service and party? How can you relate your Torah portion to your life today? How will you make your bar/bat mitzvah a truly “holy holiday”?
The term “bar mitzvah” first appears in the Talmud, the great collection of oral Jewish teaching more than 1,200 years ago?
“B’nai Mitzvah” is the term used when twin boys (or triplets!) celebrate their mitzvah. The term is “B’not Mitzvah” for twin girls (or more!).
The word bar in Aramaic means “son,” and mitzvah means “commandment” in Hebrew. In rabbinic usage, the term bar mitzvah means “a young man subject to Jewish law.”
The bar mitzvah ceremony did not emerge as a full-fledged ritual until the late Middle Ages, with more additions made throughout the modern period.
The first bat mitzvah celebration was 95 years ago and took place in the United States when Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1881-1983, founder of Reconstructionist Judaism) called his daughter Judith Kaplan to the Bimah.
Centerpiece for Charity
Create custom charity centerpieces for your bar/bat mitzvah!
DIY Havdalah Candle
Easy and elegant! Classic braided Havdalah candle for your bar/bat mitzvah blessing.
Personalized Hebrew Name Plate
Fun bar/bat mitzvah project! Rustic stenciled Hebrew name plates!
Personalized Kiddush Cup
Fun-to-make DIY Kiddush cup to help commemorate your special occasion.
Shibori Challah Cover
Twist & Shibori! Make a beautiful Japanese dyed Shabbat challah cover.
Add some ambiance to your bar/bat mitzvah tables with these DIY Apple Votives.