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WATFORD & DISTRICT SYNAGOGUE

BAR/BAT MITZVAH

INTRODUCTION

Mention the word Bar Mitzvah to the average almost-thirteen-year-old Jewish boy and they will probably wax lyrical about the great party they're planning to have. But, in Jewish terms anyway, there's actually no concept of "having a Bar Mitzvah". The term simply refers to the fact that at the start of the fourteenth year of a boy's life - namely, the day of his thirteenth Hebrew birthday - he becomes a Bar Mitzvah, a "son of the commandments." He is required to keep the all the mitzvot pertaining to Jewish men, such as being counted towards a minyan and laying tefillin.

The good news is that your Bar Mitzvah is not an event that will happen for just one day or weekend and then be over and forgotten, because once you become a Bar Mitzvah, you remain a Bar Mitzvah for the rest of your life.

In order to have a Bar Mitzvah in our synagogue on a Shabbat morning the boy must have a parent who is a member of the synagogue. The Bar Mitzvah must be halachically Jewish.

He may do as little as recite the brachot before and after the reading of the Sefer Torah and as much as recite Sedra, Maftir and Haftorah. The Bar Mitzvah is required to either pass the United Synagogue's Bar Mitzvah Test or the synagogue's Challenge 13 programme. We would accept other United Synagogues' equivalent programmes to Challenge 13. The community would hope that the Bar Mitzvah boy attends synagogue regularly prior to his Bar Mitzvah and participates in events designed to enhance his Bar Mitzvah experience.

A Bat Mitzvah held under our synagogue's auspices, whenever it is held and wherever it is held, must have a parent who is a member of the Shul. The Bat Mitzvah is required to be halachically Jewish. The Bat Mitzvah is required to give a Dvar Torah which should include at least a paragraph of Hebrew reading. The community would hope that Bat Mitzvah girl attends synagogue regularly prior to her Bat Mitzvah and participates in events designed to enhance her Bat Mitzvah experience.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

  1. First off, take a look at this Bar Mitzvah calendar to work out which Shabbat your Bar Mitzvah will fall on, and what the Sedra and Haftorah will be.

  2. Confirm the date with us by emailing either the Rabbi or Carolyn in the office.

  3. Fill out this Bnei Mitzvah form and return it to Tribe along with the registration fee.

  4. Find a Bar Mitzvah tutor here to help you to learn your portion.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Why not take a look at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah syllabus here