Our Bat Mitzvah – Grand Daughter Lisa Minodora Turning 12 Today

Lisa Minodora

Our ‘Scottish’ grand daughter is turning 12 today.

According to the Jewish tradition, a girl becomes a ‘bar mitzvah’ when she turns 12. Now, we are not Jewish, even if my wife has some Jewish blood, which was transmitted through our son, Daniel, to our grand daughter Lisa. Yet, given the Jewish roots of our faith, we are planning to have a more format ‘bat  mitzvah’-like ceremony when our families meet this summer.

Here is some information on this topic, from a Jewish site:

Bat Mitzvah literally means “daughter of commandment.” The word “bat” means “daughter” in Aramaic, which was the commonly spoken language of the Jewish people (and much of the Middle East) from about 500 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. The word “mitzvah” is Hebrew for “commandment.”

The term “bat mitzvah” refers to two things:

  1. When a girl reaches 12-years-old she becomes a “bat mitzvah” and is recognized by Jewish tradition as having the same rights as an adult. She is now morally and ethically responsible for her decisions and actions.
  2. “Bat Mitzvah” also refers to a religious ceremony that accompanies a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Often a celebratory party will follow the ceremony and that party is also called a bat mitzvah.

This article is about the religious ceremony and party referred to as a bat mitzvah. The specifics of the ceremony and party (even whether there is a religious ceremony to mark the occasion) vary widely depending on which movement of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc.) the family belongs to. Below are the basics of a Bat Mitzvah.

History of the Bat Mitzvah Ceremony

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Jewish communities began marking when a girl became a Bat Mitzvah with a special ceremony. This was a break from traditional Jewish custom, which prohibited women from participating directly in religious services.

Using the Bar Mitzvah ceremony as a model, Jewish communities began to experiment with developing a similar ceremony for girls. In 1922, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan performed the first proto-bat mitzvah ceremony in America for his daughter Judith, when she was allowed to read from the Torah when she became a Bat Mitzvah. Although this new found privilege did not match the Bar Mitzvah ceremony in complexity, the event nevertheless marked what is widely considered to be the first modern bat mitzvah in the United States. It triggered the development and evolution of the modern Bat Mitzvah ceremony.

* * *

Here is a Celtic blessing for Lisa Minodora, our only princess.

Celtic blessing

 

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “Our Bat Mitzvah – Grand Daughter Lisa Minodora Turning 12 Today”

  1. Feel free. I have found this somewhere on the internet, but I must confess I have failed to note the source and I could not find it when I looked again. Sorry.

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  2. May I have your permission to post this on my Facebook pages this evening – it is a lovely Celtic blessing and beautifully calligraphically-rendered. If I may have your permission, I would like to give proper accreditation to the calligrapher/artist. Do you know who s/he/they would be? Thank you for your consideration of this request.

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