“The child stands between the generations, inheriting from the one and transmitting to the other.”
-Harry M. Epstein,The Eternal Light
Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a significant life stage that Jewish tradition bestows upon a child the day that they reach their 13th birthday. The Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks an important step in the spiritual growth of a young Jewish person. It indicates that the student has grown in Jewish knowledge and is ready, through further study, to acquire a more mature understanding of Judaism and to assume the responsibilities of Jewish life. One of the privileges bestowed upon reaching the age of 13 is the ability to lead other adults in prayer and recite words of blessing on their behalf. We provide an opportunity for every child who is age 13 or older to co-lead a Shabbat morning service with the clergy of the congregation, and to read and teach Torah during the service. We also offer opportunities for those who adults and did not have the opportunity in their teens to participate in a service to affirm their status as a Bar or Bat mitzvah as an adult.
In order to celebrate becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Shalom, four years of Jewish education are required, beginning by the third grade. Dates are assigned during the fourth or fifth grade year and our rabbis, teachers and tutors work with each family to make the ceremony special and meaningful.