Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 11.43.54 AMAt Temple Sholom, each Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a very special occasion, both for the congregation and the family. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is one of our Jewish lifetime celebrations which, like Jewishness itself, is unique and holy, creative and beautiful. Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is similar to crossing a threshold to a world of new ideas and behavior. It affords the celebrant the opportunity to demonstrate to the congregation, the larger community and with friends and family, his or her knowledge of our Hebrew language and of Jewish practices and traditions. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a stepping stone toward the fulfillment of commandments known as, “mitzvot” (blessings, prayers, Torah reading, Jewish life cycles and annual ceremonies and celebrations) that form the core of life as an adult Jew.

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 12.20.59 PMYet, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a true “rite of passage”. It means becoming a son or daughter (Bar or Bat) of the commandments (mitzvot). After going through this process, one should be prepared to say “I have an understanding of what it means to be an adult. I know what it is to be a Jew. I may not be fully grown, but I am no longer a child. I am ready for greater responsibility, privileges and freedom. I am ready to do my share for myself, my family and the Jewish people.”

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 11.44.50 AMOur children need to acquire certain skills to make this commitment. They will explore their beliefs and thoughts about G-d, Torah, and the Jewish people. They will study Hebrew, Jewish history and Jewish thought. Parents are very much part of this process. Since children look up to their parents as role models, you set the tone and strongly influence your child’s sense of Jewish ethics and patterns of observance. Thus by being involved, you can fulfill the commandment, “V’shinantam L’vanechah” and you shall teach them to your children.