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 What a Bar and Bat Mitzvah Need to Know
Reform Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

“The congregation is not an audience. If worship is a drama, the congregation is part of the cast. The audience is God, and God is a very forgiving audience.” - Rabbi Michael M. Remson

Bar and bat mitzvah celebrations evolved from nothing into a big deal. There is no ritual that must be done to be considered an adult Jew in the eyes of halacha. So preparation will vary according to the synagogue’s expectations and the bat mitzvah kid’s wishes.

Here are some options. A bar or bat mitzvah may …
 w Kriyat HaTorah: Read the Torah portion and honor relatives and friends with an aliyah.
 w An aliyah. Say the blessings before and after the Torah reading.
 w A maftir aliyah plus haftarah: Get called up for the final aliyah and then read the section from the Prophets that is matched to each weekly portion. In some Sephardic communities, a bar mitzvah boy is honored with the fifth or sixth aliyah – not the maftir or haftarah.
 w A haftarah reading: Chant blessings and the (relatively short) portion of the Prophets that follows each week’s Torah reading. The haftarah is read on Saturday morning and, in some congregations, on Friday night.
 w A turn as shaliach tzibur: Lead the services or a portion of them.
 w A Speech: Speak during or after the service.
 w Havdalah: Lead the havdalah service if the celebration is held on Saturday evening as Shabbat ends.

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Why are the Bat and Bar Mitzvah Celebrated at Ages Twelve and Thirteen
• Biblical Thirteen Year Olds
• Evolution of the Bar Mitzvah over the years
Evolution of the Bat Mitzvah over the years
• Is a formal celebration of a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah required by Jewish law?
Settings for the Celebration of a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
Setting a Date for the Celebration of a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah

• Bar Mitzvah Services and Ceremonial Rituals at the Synagogue
• Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The Tallit: Prayer Shawl
• Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The Tefillin, Phylacteries
• What a Bar and Bat Mitzvah Need to Know
Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - Reading Hebrew & Torah Reading
Preparation for the Bar Mitzvah Celebrations: Ideas and Alternatives
• Beyond Party Plans: Meaningful Projects for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah
• The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service: Instructional Booklets and Schedules
• The Bar Mitzvah: Roles for Parents
• Memorial Prayers during the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebrations
• Videography and Photography during Bar Mitzvah Services at the Synagogue
• Bar Mitzvah boy and Bat Mitzvah Girl of Divorced Parents.  What to do?
• "Honors" during Torah Reading at Synagogue Bar Mitzvah Services
• Synagogue Etiquette: What to Wear, How to Conduct Oneself

• Party with a Jewish Flavor: Jewish Food, Jewish Music, Jewish Dance, and more
• Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Speeches
• Candle Lighting Ceremonies
• Charity and Good Deeds: The Bar Mitzvah opportunity for doing something good!

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