Thinking about Bar or Bat Mitzvah

There are two ages that have broad significance in Jewish life: eight days and thirteen years.  The b’rit milah or bris for a baby boy and Bar/Bat Mitzvah also tend to extend over the entire Jewish community, from ultra-Orthodox to mostly secular.  They are ubiquitous.  Of the two, however, Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the much bigger deal.  Once a child is born, parents have fully thirteen years in order to plan for the event.  I know that most of us do not do this, but the thought tends to hover at the edge of one’s consciousness for that entire time.  Then, sooner or later, it erupts as full-blown concern.  The kid is getting older.  Maybe we should think about joining a synagogue, or getting him/her a Jewish education, or finding a tutor, or setting the date, or looking up the names of good caterers, or at least talking to someone about what we should do!

If you have young children, thinking about what happens around the age of thirteen is virtually inevitable.  Let me commend to you my latest essay on the Vassar Temple website, Thirteen.  Even if your children are now grown, you might appreciate reading what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah was all about.

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