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Coming of Age

Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah

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Bar Mitzvah- Literally Son of the Commandments

Bat Mitzvah- Literally Daughter of the Commandments

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In the Jewish religion when a boy or girl reaches the age of thirteen they participate in a celebration that marks their acceptance into the adult world with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it.

Although there is usually a huge party, before the party there is an important religious ceremony at the synagogue. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah has spent many years studying and preparing for this day. Learning Hebrew, learning about the holidays and laws of Judaism. This is a joyous and important event. Friends and relatives from near and far are invited to the ceremony and the party.

One of the main parts of the ceremony that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah study is called the Torah Portion. The Torah is comprised of the first five books in the Bible; called the Five Books of Moses. The Torah is read from beginning to end every year and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah must learn to read in Hebrew the portion that occurs that week and to understand what it means today.

There are several prayers that go along with this reading and with new responsibilities as an adult Jew. Many members of the family are invited up to say these prayers and help with the Torah. This is considered quite an honor.

After the ceremony most Bar/Bat Mitzvahs have a party. As this is such an important event in the Bar/Bat Mivahs life, his/her family and the Jewish community it is often a large and lavish event. Music and lots of food are most often the hallmarks of this party. The best thing to say to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and his/her parents is Mazel Tov. Mazel Tov translates as Good Luck but it also means congratulations.

Books

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Schoen, Robert. What I Wish my Christian Friends Knew About Judaism. Chicago, IL: Layola Press, 2004.

This book is full of facts, lore, and opinion that is intended to help Christians become more knowledgeable about the issues of what it means to be a Jew, what the basic tenets and philosophy of Judaism are, and what problems American Jews face in today's society. Schoen discusses such topics as synagogues and congregations, the Torah, prayers, the roles of rabbis and cantors, and Jewish education

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Kimmel, Eric A.. Bar Mitzvah A Jewish Boy's Coming of Age. New York, NY: Puffin, 1995.

This is a book for every pre-Bar Mitzvah boy to read, but it is also a book for anyone who wants to learn about the beliefs, philosophies, and history of the religion. Kimmel describes the reason for the coming-of-age ceremony; what happens before and during it; and its origins and transformations throughout Jewish history. The author, in his informal, warm, conversational style, clarifies some esoteric facts about the sacred books of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims and looks at the similarities and differences in the three religions.

Websites

Party Planner!

Very cool party planning directory for every state!

History

Website contains meaning and history of Bar/Bat Mizvah's.

All About Mazornet's Jewish Celebrations!

Jewish Celebrations provides top-notch Jewish Celebrations information. From the best online Jewish Celebrations Vendor Directory to general information about Jewish Celebrations customs, traditions, etiquette, and more.

Organizations

eZines

Have a question?? Ask the Maven!

Dear Maven:

My parents almost never go to synagogue. We don't follow any of the food laws in my house. So, why should I even be Bat Mitzvaed? Isn't it hypocritical? I feel like I am lying and just doing this to have the big party. I don't really want to go to Hebrew School and I'm scared I'll make a big mistake and every one will know I am just a big phoney.

Dear Maven:

I have just been invited to my friends Bar Mitzah. Do I have to go to temple? What can I expect there? What the heck is a Bar Mitvah Anyway? Are there special gifts? Where can I get them?

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