Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebrations
The literal meaning of Bar/Bat Mitzvah is “son/daughter of the commandment,” but is better understood as “subject to the commandment.” The ceremony signifies a keynote event in the life of the Jewish family, celebrating thirteen years of love, concern, hopes and worries, and future commitment to living a Jewish life.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is also a celebration of human potential. When a young person leads a congregation in prayer, reads and teaches Torah, and chants the Haftarah, we recognize the great contribution he/she will be able to make to the Jewish people, Jewish faith and society, as well as the development of moral and ethical character.
What makes Bar/Bat Mitzvah uniquely Jewish is its exultation of the human capacity to live up to high standards and submit oneself to a mitzvah system, which demands loyalty to the ways of righteousness and decency. We believe that the years of study and the ceremony instill a sense of purpose and meaning in the youngster. We also feel that the Jewish people are strengthened by the commitment expressed by Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The task of tikkun olam (repairing our broken and fragmented world), is easier when young people pledge themselves to living a moral life.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah service symbolizes the young person’s affirmation as a Jew, as a community member, as a Temple member, and as part of a distinguished and vibrant people. It is another step in Jewish education, but not a conclusion. It is our expectation that all Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrants will continue in Religious School through Confirmation and the Summer in Israel Youth Program.
MEETING YOUR FAMILY’S NEEDS
Peninsula Temple Sholom is a Reform Congregation reflecting the customs and philosophy of the Reform movement and encouraging creativity and innovation. By attending services at Peninsula Temple Sholom and other synagogues, you may find ideas for your ceremony. Please discuss your ideas with the Rabbis so that we may plan accordingly.
Today, there is no universal definition of a Jewish family. Within our community, there are single-parent, blended, divorced and interfaith families. In planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, each of these families provides the opportunity for creative involvement. We will help your family involve all those who choose to be involved in keeping with the traditions of Reform Judaism.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is traditionally held on Shabbat morning, but may be conducted at the Erev Shabbat service. However these Friday dates are very limited. Temple services are open to anyone who chooses to attend. Invitations are never needed to attend Shabbat Services at PTS.
We recognize that preparation for this life cycle event raises many questions for parents, as well as for the students. Questions are always welcome. Please direct your questions regarding the student’s training and preparation to Cantor Reich. Questions regarding the service itself can be directed to any member of the clergy.
How it Works
Sharing a life cycle event is one of the greatest joys and sources of comfort that PTS can offer. If your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah is more than two calendar years away and you are a temple member, you will receive a letter describing your child’s responsibilities and the process of setting your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date.
When your child is in 5th Grade, you will be invited to a family workshop at the religious school and when your child is in 6th Grade, you will receive more details, including your child’s Torah portion and a copy of the temple’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Handbook; see links at left.
The Cantor's Music Links
Are you looking for...
Torah 'n Tephilote
(Bar/Bat Mitzvah study)
For copyright reasons, these music resources are available to PTS members only.