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B'nai mitzvah: a unique celebration of SHABBAT 

11/07/2019 08:34:48 AM


Cherie Marcus

In the last blog post, Liz Panken wrote eloquently about the origin and meaning of Shabbat. It’s a special gift for us; 24 hours to exhale from the week’s responsibilities & do nothing except celebrate family and friends. The Shabbat on which your child becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah brings a special joy to the holiday.

Every Jewish child becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah when they turn 13 because our tradition holds that 13 is the age at which children are able to make a decision on their own to live as a Jew and observe mitzvot. We choose to mark that decision with a ceremony in which those children are called to the Torah for their first aliyah and reading. Further, to make this is a truly unique and important celebration, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is called to bless the Torah and read in public, surrounded by their community.

At TINW, that celebration begins on Friday night. The B’nai Mitzvah families lead our congregation as we usher in Shabbat with the candle blessings and the Kiddush. When I look around the sanctuary during these blessings, I notice that the B’nai Mitzvah parents and grandparents aren’t the only ones “kvelling.” Many congregants are doing the same, whether or not they know the family and whether or not they’ve experienced this simcha with their own children. I see most everyone smiling & participating with the same joy that’s reflected from the family on the bimah.

At those moments, the B’nai Mitzvah families are establishing a special connection with the rest of the congregation. We can’t wait until the end of the service when we can approach the families to wish them Mazel Tov, even if we’re meeting them for the first time.

So, while you may have been feeling the stress of putting together a big party & making arrangement for travel, etc with family and friends, your child has been working hard to learn the things that truly mark this occasion, and that make you truly proud.

Reward yourselves with the experience of enjoying both Friday night and Saturday morning services. Take note of all the congregants who share in your simcha. Your celebration of your son or daughter will take on surprising new meaning. And, you may make a new friend!



Sun, December 3 2023 20 Kislev 5784