History

Though the origins of the term Bar Mitzvah may go back thousands of years, the ceremony as we experience it today began to appear around the 14th century. It evolved into a joyous celebration during the 16th century. A boy aged 13 was considered a full member of the religious community and was given an aliyah (to go up) to the bimah (pulpit) and participated in the Torah service. It symbolized the youngster’s entry into responsible Jewish living in the community.

Starting in the 2nd or 3rd century, girls at the age of 12 had a legal responsibility to observe mitzvot. It was not until the 1800s that some families started celebrating the girl’s new status with festivity.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah – it a decisive milestone, not only a ceremony: the child reaches adolescence, physically and emotionally. At Temple the child must be, at least, 13. There is no maximum age limit.

In the Jewish community, when the child becomes a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the child accepts additional responsibilities, most especially the full range of personal and spiritual accountability.