In Judaism, a Bar Mitzvah is a boy, and a Bat Mitzvah a girl, who has gone through what is in some respects a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. The terms also commonly refer to the ceremony itself, which normally takes place when the child has turned 13 (for a girl in the Orthodox movement, 12).
Bar Mitzvah (pl. B'nai Mitzvah) comes from the Aramaic: בר מצוה, "one (m.) to whom the commandments apply". (If it were Hebrew it would be בן (ben) not בר (bar). בר is "son" in Aramaic, and בן (ben) is son in Hebrew.).
Bat Mitzvah ((pl. B'not Mitzvah) is בת מצוה, "one (f.) to whom the commandments apply" (Ashkenazi: Bas Mitzvah).
There is a common misconception that the Bar Mitzvah ceremony causes a change in status from youth to adulthood. The rights and responsibilities vest solely because of age; the Bar Mitzvah ceremony is typically an ordinary Sabbath service, in which the boy or girl participates for the first time as an adult.
According to Jewish law, when Jewish children reach the age of majority (generally thirteen years for boys and twelve for girls) they become responsible for their actions, and "become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah". In many Conservative and Reform synagogues, girls celebrate their Bat Mitzvahs at age 13, along with boys. This also coincides with physical puberty. Prior to this, the child's parents hold the responsibility for the child's adherence to Jewish law and tradition and, after this age, children bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics and are privileged to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.
In modern Jewish observance, the occasion of becoming a Bar Mitzvah or (in non-Orthodox congregations) a Bat Mitzvah usually involves the young man or woman being called to read the Torah and/or Haftarah portion at a Shabbat or other service and may also involve giving a d'var Torah, a discussion of that week's Torah portion. Precisely what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah may do during the service varies in Judaism's different denominations and can also depend on the specific practices of various congregations. Regardless of the nature of the celebration, males become entirely culpable and responsible for following Jewish law once they reach the age of 13, and females once they reach the age of 12.
Photo scanned from slide.
Camera: Canon A1
Nobody has marked this note useful