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Judaism is a religion rich in history and tradition. One of the most important traditions in every Jewish family is the bar or bat mitzvah. It’s a special moment in the lives of every girl or boy. It’s the day we recognize the first day of their journey to adulthood.
They begin to carry their responsibilities to their families, the community, and faith. Although it’s not necessary, we mark the occasion with a big celebration surrounded by friends and family. Don’t let those precious moments slip away. Classic Memories can help you celebrate and capture the day for generations to come.
A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a Major Milestone
According to Jewish law, when a boy turns 13, they are no longer boys. They are now young men who must fulfill the mitzvahs, the commandments of the Torah. For girls, they become young women at age 12, and it’s called a bat mitzvah. However, some branches of the faith don’t allow it, such as Orthodox or Hasidic Judaism.
“Bar” is the Aramaic word for “son of” and the word means “Son of the Mitzvot.” He can now perform the Mitzvot. A bat mitzvah is the Hebrew phrase for, “Daughter of the Commandment.” She can now take her place in the Jewish community.
Transitioning into the Jewish Faith and Community
In the Jewish faith, bar and bat mitzvahs are an extension of the values of the community and the religion. The ceremony helps introduce and welcome young adults as new members of the congregation.
The bar or bat mitzvah is not a birthday or graduation. Boys and girls must study and prepare for the day. It’s both solemn and joyous. It’s the beginning of their lives in the Jewish community and observing a lifetime of mitzvahs.
A Joyful Celebration
We celebrate these once-in-a-lifetime milestones with joyous parties filled with traditional foods, dancing, and drinks. One of these traditions is the ceremonial candle lighting. The young man or woman will call their family to place a candle on the cake to remember relatives who have passed.
Afterward, the oldest member of the family recites the Ha-motzi prayer over challah bread, honoring God and celebrating the young person.
After dinner there is the mother or father dance, depending on whether it’s a bar or bat mitzvah. Like a wedding dance, it’s another priceless moment between parent and child at the cusp of adulthood.
However, the dancing has only begun. Everyone will dance the Horah, holding hands and dancing in a circle. The dancers will carry the hosts and family members high in the air, seated on chairs. It has a spiritual meaning that no one can do anything without the support of others.
Lastly, expect the parents to offer a toast to thank everyone for coming and celebrating. If you are a guest, bring a Jewish-themed gift or money. If you bring cash, it’s traditional to give in multiples of 18, such as $18, $36 or $54.
Preserving Your Mitzvah Memories
Each tradition during the mitzvah is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It’s a tremendously important event for the family. Preserving those memories takes a skilled photographer along with the help of family memory preservation specialists like Classic Memories.
Regarding photography for the bar or bat mitzvah, there are two segments: the synagogue portrait session and the reception celebration. Typically, the synagogue portrait session takes place on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon during the week before the Saturday mitzvah. The reception celebration takes place on Saturday afternoon or evening on the day of the service.
One way to make this a memorable event is to show a custom DVD slideshow of the young person’s life from infancy to the present. Classic Memories can include pictures and videos of family members and ancestors to create a heart-felt, slideshow presentation complete with transitions and your choice of music.
After the celebration, the family will end up with hundreds of fantastic photos and snippets of video. Contact Classic Memories for a free consultation on the best ways to organize and preserve those cherished memories. Creating a custom photo book or a custom DVD slideshow will preserve that beautiful celebration for future generations. Mazel tov!