The origins of a child becoming bar or bat mitzvah (meaning, son or daughter of the commandment) are based in the emergence of a 13-year-old child into legal adulthood. After a young person’s thirteenth birthday, s/he is granted the rights reserved for adults - reading from the Torah and being counted as part of a minyan.
Today, the occasion still contains a tremendous affirmation of continuity and pride. The actual ceremony of becoming a bar/bat mitzvah is included in the ritual of regular community Shabbat services. The student shows that he/she is prepared to take on responsibilities in Jewish life when he/she reads from Torah and leads the congregation in worship, thus demonstrating what he/she has learned and his/her familiarity with our tradition. However, becoming a bar/bat mitzvah bestows no magical and instant transformation. At age 13 our children are still children, and will remain so for years to come. A bar/bat mitzvah celebrates the process of becoming a Jewish adult committed to observing mitzvot. It takes guidance from parents and many years of learning to accomplish this goal. But it is a goal within the reach of our children, and one worth striving for. Becoming an acknowledged son or daughter of the Jewish people is the beginning of Jewish study - opening a window to a lifetime of Jewish learning.
We attach great importance to these celebrations and take seriously both the preparation and the commitments that we ask of our students. Please be assured that we will work closely with you to answer questions you may have. During the process of a child’s preparation, your family will meet privately with our Rabbi, and your child obtains approximately six months of individualized tutoring from our tutors. Of course, please feel free to contact any of us for counsel or guidance.
Please note that, unless a special exception is granted, a child must be enrolled full time in Beth Chaverim's religious school for the three years immediately preceding bar or bat mitzvah to be eligible to celebrate this life cycle event at Beth Chaverim. Please enquire with our rabbi and Worship Vice President as to requests for special exceptions.
We look forward to a wonderful and rewarding family celebration!
B'nai Mitzvah Resources
To download our B’nai Mitzvah Handbook, please click here.