Celebrating a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah is not as well known to the general public as the Bar Mitzvah, although the only basic difference is that one represents boys and the other represents girls. The reason a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah (translated “a daughter of the Commandment “) is not a celebration so widely known is probably linked to the fact that there is some controversy. The first recorded celebration of a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah in the U. S. was in the early 1920s. Even after this bold move, it would take at least another 10 years for others to embrace the celebration of the Bat Mitzvah. Controversy about the validity of a girl becoming a Bat Mitzvah still exists today, but many young women continue to celebrate becoming a Bat Mitzvah on their 13th birthday.
Just as with the Bar Mitzvah, there are traditional elements of the Bat Mitzvah. A commentary on the Jewish text or lesson and a candle lighting ceremony are common for the Bat Mitzvah. As long as it is appropriate for the ceremony, many people choose to make aspects of the ceremony unique. The candle lighting ceremony usually involves the Bat Mitzvah lighting 13 candles, reciting a poem and singing a song with each candle lit. Some popular options include lighting fewer than the traditional 13 candles or lighting a number of candles and then reciting a poem afterwards.
In addition to making the Bat Mitzvah unique by varying some of the traditional aspects of the ceremony, the theme can also be unique. A tribute to successful or prominent Jewish women in the community is a good way for a Bat Mitzvah to celebrate this joyous occasion. Pictures of Jewish women could serve as decorations for the event. Having women of the Bat Mitzvah’s family (grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister if she is younger) speak at the ceremony is a nice touch. A light-hearted theme is also appropriate as long as it is tasteful.
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