Corresponding to the beginning of the shift from childhood to adulthood, at age 13 the Jewish child becomes fully responsible to the Jewish tradition and the Jewish community. He or she now gets to exercise the privileges of Jewish adulthood. We celebrate this transition with the child exercising his or her new privileges, the most central of which is being counted in a minyan and being called to the Torah at services. Thus, a Jewish child becomes a bar or bat mitzvah, a “son” or “daughter of the commandment;” they do not have a bar or bat mitzvah.
It is a very exciting time for families, to see their son or daughter affirm their Jewish heritage. If you do not have a home congregation and are looking for help constructing a learning program and service for your son or daughter, or if, with the blessing of your home congregation, you would like to hold a bar or bat mitzvah service off site in the Greater Toronto Area, please be in touch. You should begin thinking about your child’s bar or bat mitzvah when they are between 11 and 12 years old.
Rabbi Appel is also available to teach and design a service for adults who have never had a bar or bat mitzvah and would like to undertake a path of greater Jewish learning.
Here are some resources if you want to learn more about becoming bar and bat mitzvah:
Bar and Bat Mitzvah at myjewishlearning.com
Make Your Own Bar or Bat Mitzvah: A Personal Approach to Creating a Meaningful Rite of Passage by Rabbi Goldie Milgrom
Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah by Jeffrey Salkin