On Saturday, April 8th, 2017, the day before my 13th birthday, I will be called to the Torah where I, along with my mom, will be leading the congregation in the Shabbat service as we become a Bat Mitzvah.

That's right, my mom has never been called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah, so I invited her to join me in a mother/daughter service.  Together we have been studying and practicing for this special day.  We've invited you to share in this moment with us.

What It All Means

In the simplest terms, becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means becoming an adult. That’s right, according to Jewish law - a mature person capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of an adult, at least from a religious perspective.  I say that includes the keys to the car, but mom seems to think otherwise.  I'll settle for my own smart phone.

Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means a child is now responsible for fulfilling Mitzvot, or good deeds, and accounting for his or her sins. This is usually celebrated around age 13. I know, but mom insists, she's young at heart.  If you don't mention her age, neither will I.

At any rate, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is now called upon to follow the teaching of the Torah, to give to tzedakah (charity), and to fast on Yom Kippur.  But first comes the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, the rite of passage where a child’s transformation into religious adulthood takes place in front of a live audience.

I hope you will join me on this special day!

Welcome to my Bat Mitzvah Page


Here are some tips on what you can expect:

What actually happens at the service?
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Mom and I will lead the congregation in prayer, recite blessings before and after a portion of the Torah is read, chant the Haftarah (reading) and deliver a d’var Torah (speech) on the portion of the Torah that has just been read.

Some family and friends are being invited to participate in a reading, sing a song or recite a blessing.

What time will the service start, and how long will it go?
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Shabbat evening service begins Friday evening at 7:30 and lasts about 50-60 minutes. Shabbat morning service begins promptly Saturday morning at 10:00 and lasts about 90 minutes.

Please do not enter the sanctuary while the congregation is standing. Quietly remain in the foyer until everyone is seated, before entering.

Will the service be in English or Hebrew?
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Both. Our service consists of both English and Hebrew readings. Many of the Hebrew readings are accompanied by an English translation or simulation. Everyone is invited to read, pray and sing along as they feel.

What should I wear?
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This is a religious ceremony, so dress respectfully. Women should expect to cover her shoulders if going up on the bimah. Men are not required to wear a kippah (yarmulke), however, they will be available for those who wish to wear them.

Can I take pictures/video during the service?
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No. Please refrain from taking pictures and videos during the ceremony, and silence all phones. Remember, this is a sacred event to be treated with respect accordingly.

Did you say something about clapping?
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Actually, I didn't, but I'm glad you asked. Our choir and Cantor and guest singers have beautiful voices and their wonderful contributions to our services are so good you may want to clap after they're done. It's hard, but please do not clap, unless Cantor Sandi invites you to clap along with the song.

What happens after the service?
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After the ceremony concludes, congregants and guests will move to the foyer for a cocktail hour while the preparations for the celebration complete in the adjoining hall.

What's a Torah portion?
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Every week a different section of the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) is read, except for a select few weeks where some sections are reread or more than one section is read. The tradition of reading this way allows for the entire Torah to be read in a single year.

What's your Torah portion?
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My Torah portion is Tsav, Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36. That's all I'm going to say. Come to the service to learn more.

Some terms and definitions you may want to know about:
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Adonai - a Hebrew name for God used in place of YHWH during prayer recitation.
bar/bat - son of/daughter of ...
Haftarah - "parting," "taking leave," (despite resemblances it is not related to the word Torah) is a series of selections from the books of Nevi'im ("Prophets") of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice. The Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on each Sabbath and on Jewish festivals and fast days. Typically, the haftarah is thematically linked to the parasha (Torah portion) that precedes it.
Hagbah - lifting, the raising of the Torah; the ritual of lifting the Torah scroll and displaying it to the congregation after the Torah reading.
Israel - the name Jacob was given after he wrestled with a "man". Means "Triumpant with God." Descendants of Jacob became known as Israelites, people of Israel.
kiddush - a ceremony of prayer and blessing over wine, performed by the head of a Jewish household at the meal ushering in the Sabbath (on a Friday night) or a holy day, or at the lunch preceding it.
kippah/yarmulke - the Hebrew word for skullcap, also referred to in Yiddish as a yarmulke. Jewish law requires men to cover their heads as a sign of respect and reverence for God when praying, studying Torah, saying a blessing or entering a synagogue.
mitzvah (pl. mitzvot) - command, commandment, order.
Motzi - the blessing said over bread before a meal on Shabbat
rabbi - a Jewish scholar or teacher, especially one who studies or teaches Jewish law; a person appointed as a Jewish religious leader.
Shabbat - the Jewish Sabbath
Shehechyanu - the gratitude prayer for reaching this day
tallit - a four-cornered prayer shawl with specially knotted fringes, called tzitzit, worn as a reminder to live a mitzvah-centered life. The knots symbolize the 613 guidelines for conscious living through a Jewish lens that are found in the Torah. As the Torah says: "You will see them [the fringes] and remember all God's mitzvot and do them" Numbers 15:39

Where can I go to learn more?
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Ok, by now, you've probably guessed that mom edited and/or wrote most of this, though I had some say. This part is definitely not coming from me, but mom insisted and so, if you really want to know more, here is a great resource.

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