Your Mitzvah, Your Way

Rabbi Betsy Roth

Bar Mitzvah

For the Young:

Bar (for a boy) or Bat (for a girl) Mitzvah, has become a staple in our Jewish traditions.  It is a ‘coming of age’ experience for our children.   The requirements that go into conducting this life-affirming ceremony take time and commitment.  The skills that the child learns in preparing for this ceremony are those that will serve him or her well throughout a lifetime.

It is very interesting to note that the historical ‘tradition’ of a Bat Mitzvah is really a brief one.  The first one was on in 1922, when the daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist Movement, became the first Bat Mitzvah.

Read more about it on my friend, Mitchell Bard’s web site, Jewish Virtual Library.

For the Young at Heart!:

However, this meaningful tradition is not just limited to the ‘young.’  Anyone who is Jewish is entitled to this enriching and spiritual occasion.  And even if you’ve already had one, perhaps you’ve had thoughts about going through the process again.  Maybe being older and wiser would make an event different than before and even better.  (Now that you are more mature and have different insights and views on life.  )  Recently, a new custom has come into this realm.  If you are approaching your 83rd birthday, someone might be asking you, “Nu…so are you going to have another Bar/Bat Mitzvah?”

People who did not have a Bar Mitzvah, those who wish to renew their commitment to Judaism or those who reach the age of 83 sometimes have a late or second Bar Mitzvah. As the biblical life span is 70 years, an 83 year old may be thought of as one who was born again and lived an additional thirteen years. Actor Kirk Douglas celebrated a second Bar Mitzvah at age 83.

My main goal as guide and coach is to support you in creating your comfort zone. I understand that approaching the unknown may be unsettling. However, after a short while you’ll see that you won’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Rather, you will be delighted with your discoveries. Our time together will be personalized to meet your needs, to  make Your Mitzvah Your Way.