Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
: The Ceremony
The bar mitzvah (a son
of commandment) is the ritual which commemorates the passage of a young male to
maturity. The bar mitzvah takes place on the boy's thirteenth birthday.
(For a girl, the bat mitzvah
(daughter of commandment) is celebrated on
her 12th birthday.) Usually, the celebration occurs in the synagogue, where
the young boy has a large role to play in the worshipping service. He reads from
the Torah, says the blessings, as well as recites bits from the Prophets. He may
also be invited to recite an original prayer or give an explanation of a
Biblical or Talmudic subject. The bar/bat mitzvah is usually followed by a party
or a meal.
In the nineteenth century,
Reform Judaism created a ceremony of confirmation which is carried out instead
of the bar mitzvah. The celebration is carried out in a more of a group
format. This festival usually takes place near the feast of Shavut.
Some Reform Jews even celebrate the confirmation at the age of sixteen. This
sixteen was chosen, as at this age, the people would be able to understand the
commitments to responsible living.