Bar & Bat Mitzvah DJ
An important life cycle event for a young Jewish boy or girl is the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah respectively. A boy is Bar Mitzvah when he reaches his thirteenth birthday, while girls are Bat Mitzvah when they are twelve. However, the girl’s ceremony can be postponed to their thirteenth birthday as well. The literal meaning of Bar/Bat Mitzvah is “commandment age” or age of majority.
Historically Bar Mitzvah and later Bat Mitzvah is the ceremonial occasion that marks the time when a young person is recognized as an adult in the Jewish community and is responsible for performing mitzvot. For example before children are Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they do not need to fast on Yom Kippur. However after bar/bat mitzvah, they are required to fulfill this mitzvah. At bar/bat mitzvah they are also counted in the minyan, a quorum of ten required to conduct a service.
The bar/bat mitzvah ceremony consists of the young person chanting the blessings, and his/her Torah portion which is the Torah portion of the week. One also reads the Haftarah portion. There are many traditions that accompany the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience. While the actual day is important and memorable, the years of preparation before are just as enlightening and vital.
Over time the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration party has evolved. The custom is to serve a special meal to commemorate the mitzvah taking place. Moreover with extended families spread out over the country, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is also an opportunity for families to reunite and spend time together.
Children begin for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah by going to Hebrew/Religious school some years before they actually turn Bar/Bat Mitzvah age. In fact, some children begin attending afternoon religious school from the time they enter kindergarten. The purpose of going to religious school is to learn about Jewish customs, holidays, history, and the Hebrew language. In the year leading up to the event the person begins more intense training focused specifically on their Torah portion and the accompanying prayers. The day the young person is Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the first time he/she will have ever been called to the Torah. To say the blessings over the Torah one must be Bar/Bat Mitzvah age.
In addition to preparing one’s Torah portion the preparatory year serves as a chance for the young person to begin thinking about what being a Bar/Bat Mitzvah really means. In some synagogues the young person may make a commentary on their portion and try to apply the teachings of Torah to their own lives.