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Bar Mitzvah 101

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Bar Mitzvah in Israel

Our Bar Mitzvah in Israel website is a free online resource for planning a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah party in Israel

Ordinary Vs Extraordinary Bar Mitzvah

A bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah takes place once in a lifetime. It is a momentous event for Jewish families when a male or female member reaches the age of maturity. This is the time when he or she enters adulthood and assumes more mature religious and moral obligations.

In commemorating this occasion, parents have a choice between holding a simple, traditional celebration and making the event an extraordinary one. It will all depend on the familyís tradition and of course, the budget available.

The rabbis always emphasize that the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is more than just a time to party. They point out that the celebration should focus more on the religious service and study of the Jewish commandments and the responsibilities of the child as he or she enters a new status in life.

For the conservative Jewish families, an ordinary yet meaningful celebration will do. This may involve the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah and his family attending the Saturday Shabbat service in a synagogue. Being the childís first worship service as an adult, he or she normally performs several tasks from the reading of the Torah portions or Haftarah to making a speech about his becoming of age and the relevance of the passages to his or her adult life.

After the religious service, a simple Kiddush can be hosted within the synagogue premises. This is a good opportunity for the celebrant and his family to be acquainted with the Jewish congregation in which they belong. In truth, this small reception is enough for a celebration.

However, it is inevitable that some families would like to throw a more lavish party for their child with the belief that this occasion only comes once in a lifetime. And so for those who have the extra budget, they plan a grand reception party. Planning and preparation starts as early as a year before the childís birthday.

A more modern bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah party involves a lot of details and a lot of coordination with several people from the party organizers, photographers, caterers and musicians or DJs. Most common details parents have to handle include the party theme, decors and party favors, food, photo montage, candle lighting ceremony, musical entertainment, games and other interactive activities.

This party normally starts with a grand entrance of the celebrant and his family. The master of ceremonies introduces the names of the family members.

What follows is the candle lighting ceremony with the guest of honor calling up 13 individuals or groups of people who have an important part in his or her life. As each one is called, music is played and then the candle is lit after which a blessing or wish is said. At the end of the ceremony, prayers are said in preparation for dinner. A certain individual is then called to lead the prayer and the traditional toast. The celebrantís father normally gives the toast but other important guests can give their own toast. Dinner is served afterwards with music played in the background.

Itís party time from then on beginning with a special slow dance by the celebrant and his or her parents. Games and other activities take place after the performance.

Parents can opt for either of these celebrations but above all these, itís still the religious service that should be highlighted as a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah becomes of age.

Read more articles on the subject: Planning a Bar Mitzvah

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