Mitzvahs and Me


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Unlike a wedding, or even a brit milah or a naming ceremony for a newborn girl, bar and bat mitzvahs require community. Celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah by reading Torah on a bimah inside a synagogue is meant to demonstrate to the community that the young person is taking his or her place as an adult in the Jewish community — that he or she is ready to take on the responsibilities that come along with their age and new status.

B'nai Mitzvahs at Camp | Surprise Lake Camp

The community, in turn, celebrates this milestone and welcomes the bar or bat mitzvah to their new roles. We welcome you. How can this be achieved without community? Sure, family members will always be proud and welcoming of their young relatives. I became bat mitzvah at Temple Sinai in Toronto.

When I finished chanting my portion and delivering my dvar Torah, I looked out at the congregation and saw all of the people I loved.

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My parents were teary. My aunts, uncles and cousins who had come in from Montreal for the occasion were beaming.

My many friends and classmates in the congregation that day were smiling and giving me thumbs up. But my most vivid and notable memory of that day occurred as I was leaving the sanctuary at the end of the service. He elaborated on why he was impressed and that because of the thought and care I took in my interpretation of the Torah portion, he felt optimistic for the future of the Jewish People. I did not know this man. My parents did not know him, either. And while I later learned that he was a past president of the temple, and a leader in the World Union for Progressive Judaism, his credentials did not matter to me at the time.

That I had been welcomed and embraced by a complete stranger, that my words meant something to someone who had no stake in my future — this is what made me feel like a true bat mitzvah.

His encouragement has remained with me to this day. Ask the Rabbi. Monthly Newsletter. Photo Gallery. Kiddush Sponsors. Adult Education.

The Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Trust Your Gut Feeling. Jewish Info. Quick Links. Solon Jewish Preschool 1 Jewish Website.

Parties & Mitzvahs

Camp Gan Izzy 1 Jewish Website. Not only did the events increase attendance at Friday-night services — they also brought a new hope for a bar mitzvah that had seemingly become overwrought with materialism. It became customary for a party to follow the service, and for boys to buy new suits and expect expensive gifts. Sarna and Pamela S.

Bat mitzvah receptions are now documented not only by professional photographers and videographers, but also their teen attendees, on Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO and TikTok. Accordingly, the stakes of a bat mitzvah have risen. The most extravagant of these parties might include musical guests — Shawn Mendes , Drake and Nick Jonas , for example — and conform to campy themes like Cirque du Soleil and Candyland. Bat mitzvahs have been known to take place in New York City nightclubs, on yachts and, in some cases, in faraway destinations. They are, in short, a spectacle. Two fire dancers had just warmed up the room for the guest of honor.

When the doors opened, the bat mitzvah girl skipped, arm in arm with motivational dancers, to the center of the floor, while her friends recorded the moment.


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Oftentimes there is an internalized expectation that the party — not unlike a wedding — will be perfect. Sarna said. We loved it. She was more excited for the party — and to no longer attend Hebrew school. Ivler said. As guests trickled into the venue they were greeted by disembodied hands holding cocktails through cutouts in a makeshift wall. To her right was a brunette whose skirt was made of champagne flutes.

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