Rabbi Meir & Rivkie Borenstein  12-16 N. Church St.  Goshen, NY 10924  (845) 291-0514  chabadoc@aol.com
Chabad Center Of Orange County
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Bar/Bat
Mitzvah
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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 growth.


Rabbi Meir Borenstein is personally committed to making the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony- and its preparations- 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 Mitzvah

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 Celebration.

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 of life.

Myth:  The idea that a child becomes an adult at 12/13 is outdated, based on the needs of an agricultural society.
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!