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A Milestone on the Path of Jewish Learning

What is B’nai (Bar/Bat) Mitzvah? 
 
Bar/Bat Mitzvah means “son of” or “daughter of mitzvah.” A mitzvah is a commandment from God and colloquially can mean a good deed (in other words, something that God would want you to do). The plural of “bar mitzvah” is “b’nai mitzvah.” In our times, “b’nai mitzvah” can mean a ceremony for two or more people, the ceremony for someone who identifies non-binary, and it’s the generic term for both bar and bat mitzvah at TBY. 
 
In Jewish tradition, boys become bar mitzvah at 13 and girls become bat mitzvah at 12; at TBY boys and girls become Bar/Bat mitzvah at 13 years of age. A bar or bat mitzvah is responsible for the mitzvot (commandments) and be counted in a minyan for Jewish prayer. This is the beginning of a person’s journey as a Jewish adult. It is traditionally marked by a child being called to the Torah.  At TBY, this lifecycle moment of the beginning of Jewish adulthood is marked by students. 
 
  • Leading a Shabbat morning (Saturday) Torah Service, including: 
    • Leading the prayers 
    • Reading from the Torah and Haftarah 
    • Being called to the Torah 
    • Giving a D’rasha, a speech  
  • Doing a Mitzvah Project that helps improve the world (tikkun olam) 
  • Participating in life-long Jewish learning by enrolling in the B’nai Mitzvah Discovery Class in JCAL 
  • Celebrating with the community 
This guide will take you through the practical aspects that will enable your child to achieve all of these.  
 
B’nai mitzvah is the beginning of a journey as a Jewish adult—not the end. We hope that means your child will continue with their Jewish education in Confirmation (8th – 10th grade) and beyond; volunteer their time with Jewish community and mitzvot, including possibly in our Madrichim Program (teacher’s aide) in JCAL; participate in Jewish community, including in TTOBY, our senior youth group; and attend services and celebrate Jewish holidays. 
 
Judaism is a rich, meaningful tradition that offers spiritual and intellectual engagement at every stage of life. Your child’s b’nai mitzvah is only the beginning of that journey! 
 
 
Sun, September 26 2021 20 Tishrei 5782