|Rabbi Meir & Rivkie
Chabad of Orange
12-16 N. Church St.
Goshen, NY 10924
|Chabad Center Of Orange County
|"Where Every Jew is Family"
|Chabad Hebrew School
"Where School is just like Camp!"
12 North Church St. Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: (845) 291-0514 Website: www.ChabadOrangeCounty.com
Fundamentally, what’s a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Myth: A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an event.
Fact: A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a person.
Myth: You go through a specific ceremony and “become Bar/Bat Mitzvah’ed”.
Fact: Becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah marks that you have reached a certain emotional maturity. It
develops at age of 12 for a girl and at 13 for a boy. It happens with or without a party, a rabbi
or a ceremony. (An adult may celebrate his/her commitment to Torah at any age in life, and
that has become loosely termed as an “adult Bar Mitzvah”.)
Myth: Bar/Bat Mitzvah training consists of at least one year studying to read Hebrew.
Fact: While many focus on Hebrew Reading skill, Bar/Bat Mitzvah is about taking the
“training” – the education – that we got during our childhood, and growing forward for the rest
Myth: The idea that a child becomes an adult at 12/13 is outdated, based on the needs of an
Fact: Establishing early teens as the onset of adulthood, with new vistas of responsibilities
opening, is used even by modern society. Judaism is not suggesting that a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is
a full adult in every sense of the word; rather it is the time that maturity begins to set in and
the child is ready to step beyond childhood.
Childhood is a time to learn from others - watching, imitating, seeing what others are doing
and copying it for themselves - under the guidance of parents and teachers.
A child thinks more in the short term, very conscious of immediate needs and wants. Thus,
they aren’t yet expected to rise above their instinctive desires, unless there’s some immediate
gratification or punishment attached. A child is focused on playfulness and less on serious
and weighty concepts. That’s adult work!
Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the entree into adulthood.
At Bar/Bat Mitzvah, with an increased maturity, and a personality that is developing and
crystallizing, we become better equipped to choose correct responses to life’s dilemmas, and
we slowly begin to seek meaning, fulfillment, connection and inspiration.
Life is no longer one-dimensional; it has a depth and a complexity of which children are
blissfully unaware. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah can say, "Although I really want it, I know it's wrong. So
I'll rise above my temptations." Or, "Although I am upset at you, I still love you." Or, "Although I
am not in the mood, I will do it because it's the right ring to do."
This a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, though still short of adulthood, has entered a 'post-childhood' phase,
ready to accept responsibility for his/her actions, and ready to 'step-up to the plate' as a
reliable functionary in family and society.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah says, "I have grown out of childhood. I am now ready to fulfill the covenant
with G-d by being responsible for performing Mitzvot, the obligations of Jewish life.
So, what are we celebrating with this ‘coming of age’?
Myth: A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is celebrating a newly-minted adult.
Fact: A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is celebrating this new status of someone who can now be “officially”
counted in the Jewish Community, ready to take a place of real responsibility!
What a reason to celebrate!
If you are looking for a spiritual and meaning-filled Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration, you have come
to the right place! At Chabad, our goal is that this becomes a journey of personal and spiritual
Rabbi Meir Borenstein is personally committed to making the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony- and its
preperations- a tangible expression of its spiritual message. We work with you to make an event
that is meaningful, with emphasis on the process of maturation, responsibility and Jewish identity.
"I have grown out of childhood. I am now ready to fulfill the covenant with G-d by being
responsible for performing the Mitzvot, the obligations of Jewish life." declares the Bar/Bat
Thus, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Chabad is centered around Readings from Biblical, Talmudic and
Chassidic sources that articulate foundational Big Ideas. Over the courses of the year, the
Bar/Bat Mitzvah explored these ideas with the Rabbi and, at the ceremony, reads these
passages (in the original Hebrew) and describes its messages. Reading from the Torah is not a
necessity for a Bar Mitzvah (contrary to popular opinion) so we prefer to direct the child's efforts
into exploring concepts like Community, Purpose, Tenacity, Identity, Responsibility and Empathy
that are reflected in these verses.
We work with the child and parent to utilize the potential of each individual child.
We can accommodate Saturday Evening Havdallah Ceremony (Havdallah is a short service that
serves as a transition between Shabbat and the weekdays, and incorporates blessings over
wine, fragrances and candles, respectively), Friday Night Shabbat Candle Lighting Service. As
described above, although we don't center our celebrations around the Torah Reading on
Shabbat morning, if a family prefers this option, we can accommodate that too.
THE PREPARATION PROCESS
A Preliminary Meeting will be called approximately 3-4 (according to family's desire) months prior
to the Big Day. Art the meeting, we'll walk the family through the entire Bar/Bat Mitzvah process
and answer any questions. We'll identify your child's Jewish birthday (the Jewish calendar is
different than our American Gregorian one) and choose a date for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah