Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Bar and Bat Mitzvah is the Hebrew term meaning “son or daughter of the commandment”. The ceremony thus makes the child maturing into a person who is accountable for the observance of the mitzvot or commandments of Judaism. In our Reform tradition, Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a significant life cycle event which is shared by the student, family and Temple community. Traditionally, a young person becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at age 13 years; however, this achievement may also be recognized by those above the age of 13 years as well.
In order to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanuel, a student must complete a minimum of three years of Hebrew instructions, beginning in the third grade. Regular attendance in both Sunday and mid-week classes is required. Student may also meet this requirement through attendance at a Jewish Day School.
Students transferring to our religious school from other schools will be evaluated in order to ensure appropriate placement and the fulfilling of academic requirements for Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Parents of a child with special learning issues should meet with the Director, the Rabbi and the Cantor to plan an individualized Bar or Bat Mitazvah preparation program.
We at Temple Emanuel believe that the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremony is not the culmination of formal Jewish education, but rather one of the may customs and ceremonies that lead to a complete Jewish upbringing. Students are expected to continue their formal studies through confirmation, which occurs at the end of the tenth grade.
Two years prior to their child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, parents are invited to a meeting at which time they will be given a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Handbook and a request form to indicate their child’s intention to become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah student at Temple Emanuel. Dates will be given out at this meeting.
(Photograph taken by: Anthony Marill)