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Bar Mitzvah In Depth

Essays and Insights on Reaching Jewish Adulthood

Entering Adulthood
How can a 12 or 13 year old be considered an adult? What suddenly happens at age 12/13?
A 13-Year-Old Adult
Why does Judaism consider a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl to be full-fledged adults? What is there to be gained from blatantly disregarding reality?
Get a Life!
“You get a comfortable salary, full health benefits, free daycare and spa privileges, 31 days annual paid vacation. You have no duties and responsibilities—you don’t even have to come to work.” Would you want this job?
Bar Mitzvahs: Magic or Tragic?
Is there any lasting value to this year of study, of running to synagogue for lessons, of nerves and anxiety? The success of a bar mitzvah should really be judged by the value added to a young man’s life.
Preventing Bar Mitzvah Boy Angst
During a bar mitzvah ceremony, do you ponder upon those last lead-up weeks that the (still rather little) boy has just been through?
My Mom Says That at My Bar Mitzvah I Am Still Not a Man!
It is my Bar Mitzvah this week. I was told this means I am becoming a man. My mother doesn't think so. So, who's right?
Sagacious advice given to a son on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah.
Bar Mitzvah Myths & Facts
Myth: A bar mitzvah is an event. Fact: A bar mitzvah is a person. Thirteen bar mitzvah myths uncovered and explained.
What is the Origin of the Bar Mitzvah Celebration?
When did Jews start celebrating Bar-Mitzvahs?
Is there any significance to
I've heard that studying the Torah portion that was read on the week of your birth can give you insight into your life. Is there any weight to this?
Can Twins Do the Haftorah Together?
My sons both have the same portion. Can they read it together?
Second Bar Mitzvah?
The Knowing I
Why do we become a bar mitzvah at adolescence? Because something dramatic happens to our minds at this time: A sort of awakening, a consciousness, a realization that "I exist"
An Unreasonable Source
Why would an irrational, irresponsible and legally questionable act serve as the precedent by which to measure reasonability and legal responsibility?
The Laws of Bar Mitzvah
Calculating the bar mitzvah date, the privileges and responsibilities of the bar mitzvah boy, and laws and customs associated with the bar mitzvah celebration.
Chaim's Bar Mitzvah
Chaim was born 13 years ago, a healthy child to healthy parents. Then one day, out of the blue, Chaim contracted a "virus" (funny, how when they don't know what it is, they call it a "virus"...)
A Bar Mitzvah for a Boy With Special Needs
As his 13th birthday loomed closer, my husband and I began to discuss what we should do. At first we thought nothing at all. How could we ‘celebrate’ a ‘Bar Mitzvah’ that wasn’t? But then we realized that there was much that we did need to celebrate.
Bar Mitzvah for an Adult?
There are no special requirements for an adult bar mitzvah. Each person is free to create a ceremony and celebration that is meaningful for him.
Bar Mitzvah Emerges from the Holocaust's Horrors
Discovery in Ukraine Inspires a Community
When a large number of human bones mixed in with pages containing Hebrew words were discovered at a building site in the town of Netishyn, Ukraine, the few local Jews turned to the only rabbi they knew for assistance.
A Dying Mother’s Wish Fulfilled: Rabbi Sees Grown Man Become a Bar Mitzvah
The path towards Judaism for Matthew Jurgens, and the rabbi who helped him traverse it
Why Are Bar and Bat Mitzvah at 13 and 12?
And why do boys lag behind by a year?
A Mother’s Reflections as Her Son Becomes a Bar Mitzvah
The emotion I felt surprised me; there in this small room so full of holiness was my little boy, not so little anymore.
(Why) Must a Bar Mitzvah Boy Read From the Torah?
There is a prevalent custom for boys to read the weekly Torah portion when they become a bar mitzvah. Here's why.
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