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Each culture has its own recognition of children reaching adulthood. There are quinceanera’s, sweet sixteens, and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.
If you didn’t get a sweet sixteen and all your friends did, that would have been devastating. It would almost feel like you were left out of a huge celebration that recognizes your adulthood. Since a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is also a religious ceremony, is it bad to not have one?
Does not having a party mean that you are not recognized as an adult?
Even if there is no celebration for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they are still considered an adult and expected to uphold the Jewish law. The term Bar/Bat Mitzvah doesn’t necessarily mean a party or celebration, it means a designation of responsibility.
Though events and ceremonies often go hand-in-hand with a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they are not necessary. There are no consequences for anything negative that happens if you do not host a celebration or event for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
To see some popular Bar Mitzvah decorations just click here.
What Is The Purpose Of A Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Many can view Bar/Bat Mitzvahs as a celebration instead of a religious experience. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is much more than just a time of celebration, it is a life-changing ceremony.
The main purpose of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to recognize that the teenager is now responsible for living a life according to the Jewish law. It can also be a celebration of welcoming the teens into adulthood.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah can also be considered a way to hold them accountable as well. Everyone in attendance has witnessed that they have pledged to uphold the Jewish law.
What Is The Difference Between A Bar and Bat Mitzvah?
If you are not familiar with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you can have many questions. One of the most common questions is, what is the difference between Bar and Bat Mitzvahs?
Are there any differences or is it just a choice on how people say it?
Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are the symbolism in Jewish culture for coming of age. Boys become Bar Mitzvah when they turn 13 years of age. Girls become Bat Mitzvah when they turn 12, (13 if they are in Reform Judaism).
Bar and Bat Mitzvah are both made up of two Hebrew words. Bar translates to son and Bat translates to daughter in the Hebrew language. The work Mitzvah translates into a commandment.
Translated it means son or daughter of commandment. However, in rabbinical usage, Bar and Bat both translate into, Bar meaning male and Bat meaning female. In rabbinical usage, it translates into commandments.
Are There Different Customs Between Celebrating A Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Bar/Bat Mitzvahs are both the recognition that a Jewish child will now be responsible for upholding the Jewish law. Since Bar means male and Bat means female, is there a difference between the celebrations?
Are they each held to a different standard of Jewish law?
A Bar and Bat Mitzvah both share many of the same customs when being celebrated.
- They are both usually celebrated: While there is no formal celebration needed for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they are typically celebrated. Friends and family all come to celebrate the day their loved one has reached adulthood.
- They both perform a speech: Typically, the one being celebrated will give a speech acknowledging the fact that they are now in adulthood and thanking their friends and family for coming.
- They will usually have a lighting candle ceremony: The candle lighting ceremony can have poems, speeches, and songs. Friends and family members will help light the candles.
Bar and Bat Mitzvahs also do have one main difference when being celebrated as well. Bar Mitzvahs read from the Torah while Bat Mitzvahs normally do not.
While Jewish boys are not technically required to read from the Torah, it is most common at a Bar Mitzvah. Bat Mitzvahs do not read from the Torah except in rare circumstances.
It is customary in Judaism tradition that only boys read from the Torah and not the girls. However, there are modern Orthodox communities that are pushing for equal reading rights of the Torah between boys and girls.
What Should You Get A Boy For A Bar Mitzvah?
If you are new to the customary practice of a Bar Mitzvah, you might be wondering what to get as a gift. If you have been invited to a Bar Mitzvah and are not accustomed to Jewish culture, it is wise to read up on the rituals and practices that may happen at the Bar Mitzvah.
A Bar Mitzvah is a celebration of welcoming a Jewish boy into adulthood. They will read from the Torah, perform a candle lighting ceremony, and work on becoming prepared for following Jewish laws and traditions.
With that in mind, what kind of gift should you bring to this celebration?
Cash is always a great gift to bring to any event. Everyone appreciates cash as a gift.
Guests will often give cash gifts in increments of $18. 18 is a symbol of “chai” in Jewish culture, which means life. It is also acceptable to give in every day increments, like $20 and so on.
How much you should give depends on how close you are to the family. Some family members will use this opportunity to contribute to a savings fund for their future. If you do plan on giving toward a future goal, be sure to mark that on the card.
If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can give a gift card. If you happen to know their favorite stores or restaurants, you can give them a gift card that will let them enjoy some of their favorites.
You can also give gift cards for experiences as well. It is also common to give gift cards in $18 increments as well.
Now that they are passing the threshold into adulthood and becoming more responsible for duties around the church and house, you can get them gifts to help with that.
You can get them gifts like Hanukkah menorahs, Shabbat candles, candlesticks, or Tallit.
If you do not have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration, you are still considered Bar/Bat Mitzvah. While it may be a fun celebration, it is not necessary.