Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Bar or Bat Mitzvah - the traditional Jewish coming of age ceremony - generally occurs when the child turns 13. At CAA it is a most festive affair, that almost the whole congregation attends, along with friends and family from near and far.

The bat mitzvah (girl) or bar mitzvah (boy) attends Religious School for years and then works with the rabbi and music director for months in advance in preparation. B’nai mitzvah lead services on Friday night and Saturday morning, read (chanting) directly from the Torah, and teach the assembled congregation about the parasha (weekly Torah reading), using insights from classic texts and modern commentators, synthesized with their own thoughts. A luncheon is generally sponsored by the family and served in the social hall. Some families have other parties or events, as well.

In some cases, older adolescents or adults of any age wish to have a bar or bat mitzvah ceremony. This can happen because the people looking for the ceremony were unable to have one at the traditional age, or did not have a Jewish education until adulthood. CAA’s rabbi can help individual members plan for an educational program and ceremony that fits their circumstances.

Bnai mitzvah are typically scheduled several months to a year before the event, so as to make sure the events fit in with other CAA events and to alert far flung family to save the date. Members with children reaching bar/bat mitzvah age in the coming year should consult with the rabbi.

The whole congregation is typically invited to the simcha (happy occasion) and all take pride in the accomplishments of the bar or bat mitzvah. Relatives attending from a distance may stay in local hotels, or have home hospitality with friends or family. Advice on caterers, reserving blocks of rooms at hotels, ordering souvenir kippot or bentschers or other details can be obtained by calling the CAA office.

Bar or bat mitzvah need not be a major expense. The family having the simcha can plan a very festive celebration that fits their budget.

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