At Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue we treat Bat Mitzvahs with great importance.
According to Jewish law, once a girl turns 12 years old, she is obligated to observe all the mitzvot; hence the term Bat Mitzvah (daughter of the mitzvot).
Until fairly recently, the United Synagogue did not celebrate Bat Mitzvahs. Instead, it held a Bat Chayil (Daughter of Valour) ceremony when girls graduated from their final year at Cheder. This ceremony involved recitals and performances by the entire class, usually on a Sunday afternoon.
BES seeks to reclaim the Bat Mitzvah and celebrate it as a religious milestone in each individual girl's life.
The Bat Mitzvah ceremony is usually held on a Shabbat, just before the end of the morning service. Alternately it can be held on a Sunday.
The format of the Bat Mitzvah involves the girl delivering a D'var Torah (Torah discourse) in front of the entire congregation. She then follows this with the recital of a special Bat Mitzvah prayer. The parents are then invited to bless their daughter and offer thanks to the Almighty for this milestone in their lives. The rabbi then offers a Torah thought and some personal remarks, and the Bat Mitzvah girl is presented with a book and certificate.
The entire service lasts between 20 minutes and a half hour.
It is necessary for the girl to follow guidelines for preparing a D'var Torah and to study with a competent tutor to help her construct her D'var Torah. For a list of potential tutors, please call the BES office on 020 8386 5227.
BES runs regular workshops for the parents of Bnei Mitzvah. Please see Events for details of the next workshop dates and topics.