Torah B'nai mitzvah page

What is B’nai Mitzvah?

The meaning of Bar/Bat Mitzvah has evolved historically. Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Son/Daughter of the Commandment, is the status in Judaism of a boy or a girl who has reached thirteen, the age of majority in Jewish life. Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a designation of legal status that the person is no longer considered a minor in Jewish law, that the person may be counted in the minyan and may participate fully in worship services.

The occasion of your child becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a very special time for you and your family, and for our congregation as well. While there are many days in the lives of our children which are filled with pride and joy, this moment in Jewish life enables and encourages us pause to appreciate the awesomeness of your child taking an honored place in shalshelet ha-kabbalah, the chain of our Jewish tradition.

The Babylonian Talmud includes beautiful words of prayer that encapsulate this transformative moment:

“May our children see their world fulfilled, trusting in generations past and yet to be, having hearts filled with intuition and words with insight, their eyes shining with the light of holy words and faces reflecting the brightness of the heavens.” 

These may seem like lofty visions and aspirations. But they are precisely what we hope to share with you as your Bar/Bat Mitzvah student participates in the leadership of Shabbat services, chants from Torah and prophetic teachings, teaching his/her community. We see the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience as a turning point in one’s Jewish education rather than a climactic graduation. At NVHC, we encourage lifelong learning. Through learning in our Kehilat Limmud and Tamid programs, getting ready for Bar and Bat Mitzvah in Torah Corps, in our youth groups and activities to engage in the community, our children are challenged to make their Jewish identity take flight! This continues through participation in our amazing Confirmation program in 10th and beyond.