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Bar Mitzvah in Israel

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Bar Mitzvah - The Money Issue

A bar or bat mitzvah is one momentous event in the life of a Jewish child. It is the day when a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy enters the world of adults and becomes responsible for his own actions. With this transition, a child assumes his adult obligations in accordance with the Jewish law and religion.

For this reason, Jewish parents need to invest their time and money in making this celebration a happy and memorable event for their child. Normally, a year of preparation is required for this event. However, there are parents who plan for this occasion even as early as three years before the actual date.

While they may be busy with work and household responsibilities, parents should set aside a time to discuss important details of this event with the family. As the date is fixed, itís time to plan out the steps that need to be taken and make a list of people to invite as well as people to hire for the various aspects of the religious ceremony and reception party.

A childís religious education is the most important part of this process. This is encouraged to let the child learn about his spiritual and moral obligations as an adult. While studying Jewish religion may start early in kindergarten, a child about to become of age still needs to undergo several months of study before reaching his bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah age.

During this period, children are taught about Jewish ethics, holidays, commandments, prayer, history and the Hebrew language. They also learn to read and recite the Torah or the First Five Books of the Bible and the Haftarah (Prophetic books). Some parents choose to get a personal tutor for their children if the study schedule at the synagogue conflicts with their childís regular schooling.

Apart from the rabbiís teaching, parents also need to guide their children as they grow and emphasize that their religious education does not stop at their becoming a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. The lessons they learned from their study should not just become an added knowledge but a way of life.

As to how the event should be celebrated, there really is no specific commandment or laws for this. It is the religious teacher who can come up with an appropriate ceremony for the big day in which the celebrant can display his talents. A bar mitzvah may act, present a mime or present his own views of the Torah portion.

On the other hand, parents may have to spend part of their savings for this special celebration for the love of their child. Being a once-in-a-lifetime event, it is common nowadays for Jewish parents to throw a big party celebration for their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. The party usually features different fun activities and games for the young guests in a variety of venues. Some even go on a tour of Israel for this special occasion.

Whatís noteworthy as well is the act of charity involved in many bar mitzvah / bat mitzvah parties. Instead of material gifts, guests opt to give monetary donations to a special charity chosen by the celebrant. Otherwise, the celebrant himself donates the money he receives to a charitable organization.

Keep a balance of making a good deed and creating fun times during the celebration. Itís a worthwhile investment that your child and your family will remember throughout your lifetime.

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