Parents Make It Special
Bar and bat mitzvah celebrants who are consulted before the planning
begins tend to be more cooperative throughout the preparation stages. Parents
dream of certain bar mitzvah celebrations and ceremonies. Kids do, too.
Parents can reinforce the impact of the bat mitzvah by beginning to treat
their child as the adult she will soon be. Teens want to be taken seriously. A
little individual attention goes a long way. Parents can schedule a weekend away
with the bar mitzvah boy. Discussing the meaning of the bat mitzvah can be one
goal of the weekend, but so is doing grown up things together like dining out,
attending the theater, browsing through museum collections. This is the dawn of
ardent adolescence, and its a good time to touch on the tough, but important
topics like love and morality. Then listen. Really listen.
If the bar mitzvah boy is a reader, choose a book with a Jewish theme to read
together. Go out for coffee and discuss your reading.
Take a trip to a Judaica store, and treat the bat mitzvah girl to something
newish and Jewish, just because.
Throughout the party planning craziness, long walks can be a way to refocus on
the meaning of the bat mitzvah instead of the hype. Talk about the meaning of
the milestone: how does the bat mitzvah girl see herself as a Jew? Share
memories of your bar mitzvah.
Create a guide to the service as a joint effort. Include favorite, meaningful
passages from Jewish books. Write a brief biography of the new adult and feature
his commentary on the Torah portion.
Bat Mitzvah Clubs
Some cities have Bat Mitzvah Clubs which expand the ceremony from a one-day
event to a year-long thoughtful, challenging process where information about
becoming a Jewish woman is explored through discussions and events. Its not a
school. Information is passed along in a social setting. In time each girl
develops a personal answer to the question: What does a bat mitzvah really
To learn the trop, it is sometimes necessary to study one to one with a
tutor. Pick a good one. A good tutor can add depth and enthusiasm to the whole
preparation process. One essential difference between a good and a bad tutor is
patience. Learning the trop can be frustrating. Select a tutor who can offer
corrections without criticism.