Bar Mitzvahs

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Preparing for Bar Mitzvah takes a lot of hard work. The day of the Bar Mitzvah is wonderful and exciting, but it's also a day that is years in the making. By the time he is Bar Mitzvah, a young man will have spent years learning Hebrew, considering the customs of his religion, and studying the Torah.

The term Bar Mitzvah is Hebrew for "commandment age." It traditionally occurs at 13 years of age, the time when a boy is recognized as a man. Obviously, this is a very exciting recognition for the young person, who has probably been yearning to be thought of as grown up for years. Children are so eager to grow into adulthood. How wonderful that Jewish tradition still requires them to work hard for the right, then celebrates and rewards them for the effort.

Celebrating Bar Mitzvahs

Bar Mitzvahs have certainly turned into grand celebrations! In addition to the religious ceremony of reading passages from the Torah in synagogue, the young man is given a fabulous party. This party is a great time for friends and family to show the young man how much they love him, and how proud of him they are. The Bar Mitzvah party is also a great chance for non-Jews to learn a thing or two about Judaism. For many young people, attending their friends' Bar Mitzvahs and Bar Mitzvah parties is the first time they are exposed to Jewish ritual and custom.

Of course, family and friends alike give gifts to the young man on his Bar Mitzvah. Family often give special Judaic gifts. Kiddush cups, for instance, make important, memorable Bar Mitzvah gifts.

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