Since the next Jewish Futures conference has to do with the future of the bar/bat mitzvah, thought I would put this article out for y’all to take a look at. The author is talking about the terminology used to refer to grown female humans – woman vs. lady vs. gal, etc. – and the impact of the “extended adolescence” on one’s sense of self. She then adds this short bit about Bat Mitzvah: (more…)
He was terrified. I mean really scared. As I stood next to him on the bimah, in front of his family and the rest of the congregation, I congratulated him on what a great job he was doing, trying to get him to smile. He looked at me and said, “I’m nervous. I’m really nervous”. As his eyes filled with tears, I told him that he was allowed to be nervous, but that he should remember that he was in a room full of people who loved him. As I returned to my seat I felt myself go back in time. I recalled the moment when another 13-year-old boy stood on another bimah. He had been so scared that morning he couldn’t eat breakfast. So, on that Shabbat morning, before the Shema, he turned to Mr. Cohen, the Temple president, who was standing next to him, and said “I think I’m going to throw up”. As I began to collapse on the bimah, just before I fainted dead away, I saw my father move faster then I’d ever seen him move before, leaping up the stairs, zipping past the shtender, to catch me. As I remembered my moment of terror, all those years ago, when I became a bar mitzvah, I looked at Jacob, and thought to myself that no one should go through this torture. (more…)
Tablet’s online magazine offers a different take on the “Save the Date” notification for a bar mitzvah. Adam Chandler has provided a glimpse into this in his posting of February 19th. This is one you won’t want to miss! What are your thoughts about the use of YouTube in this fashion? What are your thoughts about the message?
It’s no secret that many of us who have reached the age of Jewish majority mourn the “problem” of b’nai mitzvah: its lack of meaning and its failure to engage young people in the Jewish community. But what if the problem isn’t b’nai mitzvah? What if what’s to blame isn’t the ceremony or the materialism or even the diverse needs of the young Jews who undertake this important right of passage? What if the problem is us? (more…)
The most basic understand of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah is that the child is now being counted as a full fledged member of an adult Jewish community. Theoretically this comes with many new responsibilities for keeping mitzvot, but really is defined by how the community treats this person differently than they did previously. There’s a service, a party, potentially aliyot for all the teenagers who have had a bar or bat mitzvah, but do these young adults really shift their standing in our communities? How do we model in real life what we are saying this rite of passage is all about? (more…)