B'nai Mitzva anyone?

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Registered: 04-13-2010
B'nai Mitzva anyone?
14
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 12:02pm

My dd 13 1/2 has been invited by one of her best friends to attend her B'nai Mitzvah, and since dd is Catholic she is unfamiliar with the Jewish faith. However, dd is excited to attend the ceremony/reception and support her friend on her special day. My question is for anyone who is Jewish or for anyone who has attended a ceremony, maybe can give me a heads up on what dd can expect, and what is appropriate behavior/dress for this occasion.


Thanks so much!


Ooops, I forgot the h at the end of my Mitzvah in my title!




Edited 9/7/2010 12:03 pm ET by jakesmom39


Edited 9/7/2010 12:04 pm ET by jakesmom39

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-17-2004
Tue, 09-07-2010 - 10:27pm

My daughter (and I) attended a Bat Mitzvah when she was thirteen.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 9:18am
I appreciate all of the information! I've always heard it as Bar/Bat, but
Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 9:26am

Found this (the term was new to me too) - see this one and other options in the header



http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/12-Kids/section-36.html

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 2:43pm

B'nai means something like "community" which is why the word is used to identify the name of the temple community. Bar and Bat mean son and daughter, respectively, and Mitzvah is/are the commandments. Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah means son or daughter of the commandments. So technically, one does not HAVE a Bar Mitzvah, one BECOMES a Bar Mitzvah. Therefore, the B'nai Mitzvah is the community of the commandments that the Bar or Bat joins.

In Orthodox Judaism, the occasion of becoming Bar Mitzvah ment that a boy was now physically, emotionally and intellectually able to read, understand and discuss the Torah during the Shabbat(or service), which, under traditional Orthodox law, only men could do. Women had their own service. Traditions evolve, Orthodox spawned Conservative and Reform branches, and women demanded equal rights. Enter the Bat Mitzvah, and the B'nai Mitzvah.

Older dd was best friends with an Israeli Jew, and very close to his family. They emigrated here, became American citizens, he went to grammar school, high school, college, and became a webmaster. Along the way, he changed from Reform to Orthodox, made an increasing number of trips back to Israel, and finally, much to the chagrin of his family, decided to emigrate BACK and become a Rabbi. DD still hears from him, but less often now that he has a congregation, and is engaged. To a girl born and raised in our neighborhood, who had gone to Israel searching for her roots, and ran into him. Go figure.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 6:01pm

Thank you SuzyK and Sabrtooth, the additional information was extremely helpful:)



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2009
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 6:57pm

You may have already gotten additional information but from a Reform Jewish perspective - I offer this:

B'nai Mitzvah (leaving off the "h" is fine because it is a translitation of Hebrew) is because there will be one Bar and one Bat Mitzvah going on at the same time, B'nai being the plural form.

Depending on whether the congregation is Reform, Conservative or Orthodox will determine what sort of dress is appropriate. The more Orthodox the more "conservative" the dress should be. By no means should your daughter consider jeans. If she has any questions (like is it appropriate to wear pants) she might ask her friend.

Covering your shoulders is a good start as it is a sign of respect for the congregation.

The service can go long, I'm assuming this is a Saturday event and not a Friday night event. Yes, a lot will be in Hebrew but if there are a large number of non-Jewish people attending (especially if only one side of the family is Jewish) more English may be used and more explanations may be given.

As for the party after - depends on where you live and how extravagant people get. Sometimes it's a party in the back yard and sometimes people rent out yachts. Hopefully your DD friend will give her some clue as to what kind of party it is going to be.

I hope your daughter has a great time.

Susan - it's been a few years since I attended my last Bat Mitzvah but it really does very by region.

Susan L.





Robert Edward Xavier Lin - Born July 31, 2010 at 5:56AM, 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU but he's doing great now!

Susan L.



Robert Edward Xavier Lin - Born July 31, 2010 at 5:56AM, 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU but he's doing great now!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2008
Wed, 09-08-2010 - 8:45pm
I find this whole thread very interesting. I had a friend/foster sister in my youth that was Jewish, some of this is familiar, most of it is not. I hope your DD will come home with lots of detail because I'd love to hear her take on it. I have been invited to/ witnessed many kinds of religious ceremonies but this Jewish rite of passage is one I've never had the opportunity to be a part of. Personally I think your DD is a very lucky girl!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 9:51am

Hi Susan,



Thanks so much! Yes, I can imagine it does vary by region, and I'm in Colorado. There is a dinner and reception planned for after the ceremony, and yes it will be held on a Saturday evening at the end of the month. Knowing the family a bit, I'm going to say the afterwards will not be more casual. Although, I doubt jeans would be appropriate. I keep telling dd to ask her friend on what to wear, but even her friend struggles with the thought of having to wear something other than jeans anywhere!



I wondered if the B'nai was plural since it

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 10:01am

I'm excited for dd as well. Dd has several Jewish friends and some that have Jewish/Catholic parents, Muslim parents, it is a mixed bag of friends/families. However, this is her first ceremony to attend. I really wanted her to know a bit of what to expect if possible! It is such a special day for her friend, and I'm honored that she

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2009
Thu, 09-09-2010 - 2:30pm

I"m in Colorado too - Boulder area - where are you?

Susan

Susan L.





Robert Edward Xavier Lin - Born July 31, 2010 at 5:56AM, 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU but he's doing great now!

Susan L.



Robert Edward Xavier Lin - Born July 31, 2010 at 5:56AM, 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 inches long. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU but he's doing great now!

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