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Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish boy’s right of passage into adulthood. At the age of 13, boys are recognized as adults of the Jewish community and are commanded to uphold all Mitzvot. The term Bar Mitzvah translates to “son of the commandment”. It is customary to have a ceremony recognizing and welcoming the boy into adulthood. The Bar Mitzvah ceremony is a joyous occasion which family and friends are invited to listen to the boy read a Parsha from the Torah. He usually studies this Parsha with the Chazzan for around a year in order to learn the proper way of reading the Torah. Along with the Hebrew Parsha lessons, there are usually meetings with the synagogue’s Rabbi, who teaches the commandments to which he must now adhere.

Now that the boy is recognized as a man, he also has the ability to attend Minyan (at least 10 men are required to create). During the celebration of the Bar Mitzvah, the father of the boy recites a blessing thanking G-d for releasing him from the burden of the responsibility of the child’s mistakes.
The meaning behind this is said to be one that conveys responsibility and duty to the new adult.

Bat Mitzvah is held for girls the age of 12 in Jewish communities. Girls are recognized as adults at this age and required to uphold the honor of a Jewish woman’s commandments and role in the community. Part of the commandments is modesty. Girls who become Bat Mitzvah are not permitted to read from the Torah in Orthodox Judaism. There is usually a party to celebrate the new adult but it’s not as celebrated as men’s right of passage. At this age, women may begin lighting Shabbat candles.
The following blessing or “Bracha” is said:

“Baruch she-patarani me-onsho shel zeh
Bless the One Who has freed me from responsibility for this one [our son].
Baruch she-patarani me-onshah shel zot
Bless the One Who has freed me from responsibility for this one [our daughter].
Mi Shebeirach for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah
May HaShem (G-d) Who blessed our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchack, and Ya’akov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, bless ___________ who has come for an aliyah upon reaching the age of mitzvot. May the Holy One guard and sustain him/her, helping him/her to be wholehearted in his/her faith, to study Torah and fulfill Mitzvot, and to walk in HaShem (G-d) ways. May he/she find favor before HaShem (G-d) and people everywhere. And let us say: Amen.”