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Significance of the Bar & Bat Mitzvah

Significance of the Bar & Bat Mitzvah

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Significance of the Bar & Bat Mitzvah

The Bar & Bat Mitzvah is the moment in the Jewish life cycle that most deeply defines who Jews are as a people.  The Bat & Bar Mitzvah ceremony celebrates the link in an unbroken chain of thousands of years of Jewish tradition.  The words Bar & Bat Mitzvah literally mean “Son & Daughter of the Mitzvah.”  In addition to meaning “commandment” the word Mitzvah also means “connection.”  When a child reaches to the age of Bat & Bar Mitzvah, she/he assumes a greater maturity in her/his connection to Torah and Mitzvot, to her/his own Jewish identity, to the Jewish people as a whole, and to G‑d. 

According to the Torah, a Bar & Bat Mitzvah is a young man who has reached the age of 13 and a young woman who has reached the age of 12 (the beginning of her 13th year).  Our sages teach that at the age of 13 young men and women are endowed with a greater capacity for both seeking to do good and seeking selfish pursuits.  This age marks the young adult’s arrival at the crossroads of moral and spiritual decision making that is engaged in by mature adults.  As a community we celebrate the Bat & Bar Mitzvah in order to help our young adults become aware of and draw meaning from this significant transition in their lives.

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