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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! 
Wed, June 16 2021 6 Tammuz 5781