Bar and Bat Mitzvah Facts and FAQ
One of the greatest moments for every Jewish boy and girl is the bar or bat mitzvah. These momentous occasions are usually held on Shabbat or celebrated in a unique way. Although the modern mitzvah has certainly earned its reputation as one of the most festive parties in the Jewish community, attending one for the very first time can be daunting if you are unaware of the customs and practices. In this beginner’s guide, we review bar and bat mitzvah FAQ, as well as bar mitzvah facts and bat mitzvah facts for people of all faiths. Keep reading to learn more!
Bar and Bat Mitzvah FAQ
Whether you’re hosting your child’s special birthday or you’re attending a bar or bat mitzvah for the very first time, we can understand why you’d have plenty of questions about tradition, etiquette, and the event itself.
What is the bar or bat mitzvah?
A bar mitzvah happens for boys at age 13. A bat mitzvah happens for girls at age 12. At these ages, children are obligated to observe the commandments under Jewish Law. Children also receive the right to take part in leading religious services, form binding contracts, and testify before religious courts.
What do the words “bar” and “bat” mitzvah mean?
The words “Bar” and “Bat” Mitzvah literally mean “son” or “daughter” of the commandment.
What type of gift is appropriate for the bar or bat mitzvah child?
Generally, cash or checks in $18 increments make wonderful gifts. The number 18 is symbolic for the Hebrew letters for life, or chai. If you’re not convinced by bonds or written checks, consider a gift certificate instead.
What is the difference between an aliyot and an honor?
An Aliyah, or the plural version Aliyot, is a calling to members of the Jewish congregation to recite blessings over the reading from the Torah. An honor is a non-speaking part of the service, such as opening the Ark or dressing the Torah.
What is the appropriate attire to wear to a bar or bat mitzvah?
Bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies take place in conjunction with a weekly Shabbat, or Sabbath, service, so you should wear what you would normally wear to a typical synagogue or church service.
Bar Mitzvah Facts
- The plural of bar mitzvah is “b’nai mitzvah.”
- Preparation and study for a bar mitzvah begins years in advance of the actual date.
- Bar mitzvah traditionally wear head coverings known as kippah, or yarmulke.
- Bar mitzvah traditionally wear prayer shawls known as tallit.
Bat Mitzvah Facts
- Bat mitzvah of liberal synagogues may wear kippah or tallit during the ceremony.
- In some synagogues, women may wear hats or lace head coverings as acts of showing respect.
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