Attending a Bar Mitzvah? Bat Mitzvah? Learn What to Expect

Attending a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
Here’s the top questions people have. What should I wear?
Don’t be a schlub. People usually dress on the formal side.
If you have a tallis, you can wear it,
or borrow one at the synagogue, but it’s not required.
In some communities, people are expected to cover their heads
there’s probably a basket of kippas in front. When should I arrive?
That depends do you want to have the full prayer experience
or roll in when things heat up? Showing up precisely on time is unusual on
Saturday mornings. Depending on the congregation,
it may be fine to show up very fashionably late.
Feel free to ask, what time should I
really get there?
It’s not rude, we promise.
What should I expect at the service? This varies.
Some bar or bat mitzvahs lead the whole service, while others make a shorter cameo to say some
blessings, and read or chant in Hebrew from the Torah
or Prophets. Then they’ll give a speech.
(Don’t worry — that part’s in English.) Parents will often say blessings,
embarrass their child with some memories, and present gifts.
Many congregations pelt the bar or bat mitzvah with candy to celebrate
a job well done and then adjourn to the social hall
for a kiddush, or festive lunch. Okay, what do I do?
Take a prayer book at the door, along with a copy of the Torah readings.
Often, an usher will help you out. Expect lots of standing and sitting and go
with the flow. Rest assured you’re not the only person there
without a clue. What do kids do to prepare?
Kids learn how to lead a service, carry a Torah,
and chant from the Hebrew inside it. They write their speech
called a drash and often complete a mitzvah project.
It can take years of work with a rabbi or cantor or tutor to prepare.
But the rituals are just a bonus simply turning 12 or 13 gets the job done,
making them eligible Jewish adults Bar or Bat Mitzvahs.
Now, they’re “legal” in the Jewish sense.
Anything else I should know? Yes!
Leave your phone at home, or turn it off before services!
Taking pictures is usually frowned upon enjoy the moment instead.
And Presents you’re certainly welcome to give them
but do it at the party not the service a check, a savings bond, a book, or so on.
Sometimes, families invite charitable donations in lieu of gifts.
Hey, isn’t there going to be a crazy party? Hopefully!
If you’re invited to a bar or bat mitzvah party,
it’s gonna be a fun time. It could be right after services,
later that night, or another day.
There aren’t any official rituals at the party,
so lighten up …and get down!

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