Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah

"Son/Daughter of the commandment"

What is a Bar Mitzvah?

A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a coming of age ceremony for children in the Jewish faith. At the age of 13, for boys, and 12 for girls Jewish children become obligated to observe the commandments. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony formally and publicly celebrates that obligation along with corresponding rights. A few of these rights include taking part in leading religious services, to form binding contracts, to testify in court, and to get married.

Contrary to popular belief, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is not mandatory, as one will automatically be considered to gain these rights once they turn 12/13. The ages 12 and 13 are picked as it is normally the time when their bodies will reach maturity (when they go through puberty)

Why are there two names for it?

A Bar Mitzvah is the coming of age ceremony for boys, but the same ceremony happens for girls as well, it is just called a Bar Mitzvah to fit the gender of the girls, meaning "daughter of the commandments"
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Significance of Bar/Bat Mitzvah

In the most simple explanation, it is the celebration of a milestone, just like any birthday party, except a little more special, because in the Jewish faith, it is a symbolism of adulthood. Though 13 is still young, and definitely not old enough to move out, drink alcohol, get a job, or get married, drive a car, or any other typical "adult" responsibilities, the idea of adulthood in the Jewish faith is regarded more towards being responsibile, mature, and having the capability to make decisions based on your understanding of the consequences of intended actions.

What happens at a Bar Mitzvah?

  • Takes place at a Synogogue
  • Years of preparation has been taking place
  • Reading passages of the Torah, this is done with a special pointer, as the Torah is considered very sacred and is not to be touched by hands
  • After the reading/the ceremony, its time for the party!
  • During the party/reception, everybody will participate in dancing the Hora (A dance where the guests will form a circle, around the birthday boy/girl, who will be lifted up on a chair)
  • There will be a large buffet for all the guests to enjoy

The hora is a typical dance at any Jewish celebration, this is a video of the Hora at a Jewish wedding reception

Dancing the Hora

Rap superstar, Drake recently had a second Bar Mitzvah as he wanted to reestablish his Jewish faith

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"Bar and Bat Mitzvah | Reform Judaism." Reform Judaism. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.

"Judaism 101: Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation." Judaism 101: Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.

Pelaia, Ariela. "What Is a Bar Mitzvah?" N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.

Botwin, Jacob H. "Bar and Bat Mitzvah." Jewish Virtual Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2015.