Celebrating Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah with Divorced ParentsJewish children celebrating their bar or bat mitzvah may not always have a complete family. Some may have parents no longer living together and with their own families already. There may be children living with their father or staying with their mother.
With divorced parents, itís inevitable that a child may have to celebrate the occasion with only one parent at their side. While this may be a stressful situation not only for the parents but especially for the child, the event can still be made into a happy celebration.
As social etiquette is called for during this occasion, itís just appropriate for parents to be considerate of their son or daughterís situation and set aside differences in the meantime. Keep in mind that this is a momentous day commemorating the transition of your child from childhood to adulthood hence it is just right that he or she be given all the love and moral support to make every aspect of the celebration run smoothly.
Including all family members in the celebration is vital. This means inviting your ex-spouse and even his own family to take part and enjoy the event. Whatever anger, sadness or disappointment you feel, work them out with your support system.
Some mothers may be reluctant to invite their former husbands to the ceremony in the synagogue. However, if itís possible, both parents really need to be there especially since the father usually gets an aliyah as a traditional honor during the service of a bar mitzvah. If a mother truly loves her child, then maybe itís worth tolerating the ex-husbandís presence at the religious service.
But giving the father an aliyah is not mandatory. This portion may be scrapped if the father could not make it to the ceremony. It is understandable for newly divorced parents to still feel uncomfortable in the presence of the other notably if theyíre still hurting inside. It may not also be advisable to invite the father who has remarried and whose new spouse is not liked by the child. This may only cause the celebrant to feel disappointed and ashamed in the presence of his father.
Apart from the celebration itself, parents may also need to discuss other issues such as splitting the costs and who to include in the guest list. In this case, the father and mother will need to reach an agreement especially if both parents want an equal role in the event. It may be appropriate then to consult with a rabbi or therapist and make a list of responsibilities.
If an agreement is impossible, two separate affairs may be an ideal option. Each parent can throw a celebration for the child if they wish. One celebration may be a small affair while the second may be with a bigger group.
Overall, it should not matter as to who has custody of the child or who plays a major role in the childís life. Whatís important to remember is that parental bond will always remain and cooperation is the best step parents can take towards a successful bar or bat mitzvah event. Making a happy memory for your child as he or she becomes an adult is the best gift any parent can give.
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