According to Jewish tradition the age of maturityfor a boy is thirteen years. The Mishne states in tractate Pirkei Avot (5:21) “At thirteen a boy is obligated in all of the commandments.” The Mishne states in tractate Nida (5:6) that a girl reaches the age of majority at 12. Thus at age twelve a girl is a Bat Mitzva, literaly a daughter of the commandments, meaning that she is obligated in all of Mitzvote. At age thirteen a boy is Bar Mitzvah, a son of the commandments, and obligated in all of the commandments.
The tradition is to mark this milestone in a young adults life with a ceremony at which they publicly fulfill the Mitzvote, commandments, associated with Torah learning. Most often it is held on Saturday as part of Shabbat Torah reading. For both boys and girls the most important part of this process is to publicly deliver their commentary on the weekly Torah portion, thus fulfiling the most important Mitzva of all, teaching Torah. In our Nozyk Synagogue, a boy may choose to read from the book of the prophets, to say the blessing over the Torah reading and/or to read from the Torah. In Ec Chaim Synagogue, both girls and boys are performing these tasks. Additionaly we invite the parents and family of the Bar/Bat Mitzva to say something.
Preperation for a Ba’r/Bat Mitzva can take anywhere from a year to a few months, depending on what the young man/woman wants to do. Ideally the parents and the Bar/Bat Mitzva should meet with one of the Rabbis a year ahead of time to fix the date and create a plan for the Bar/Bat Mitzva. Each ceremony is custom tailored to the Bar/Bat Mitzva and their family. The point being that rather than just a ceremony that the Bar/Bat Mitzva is their first independent step into a life in the Jewish community. Part of preparation for the ceremony is studying and deepening the Jewish knowledge on various Jewish subjects, not only the ceremony itself.
If you are interested in holding your Bar/Bat Mitzva with us please contact us at: The Nozyk Synagogue: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ec Chaim Synagogue: email@example.com