Reclaim­ing Bar/​Bat Mitz­vah as a Spir­i­tu­al Rite of Passage

  • Review
By – September 8, 2015

At the very moment that Jew­ish young peo­ple approach ado­les­cence, we ask them to take on an enor­mous expe­ri­ence of plan­ning a bar or bat mitz­vah cer­e­mo­ny to mark their spir­i­tu­al, phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al com­ing of age. How can par­ents and edu­ca­tors shep­herd bnei mitz­vah through this process with­out over­whelm­ing them, main­tain­ing even tem­pers, thought­ful deci­sion-mak­ing, and room for negotiation?

Goldie Mil­gram springs to help stu­dents and their par­ents to pre­pare thought­ful­ly for their B‑Mitzvah,” as she refers to it. With charts, jour­nal­ing exer­cis­es, lots of how-to guid­ance, and thought­ful expla­na­tions and rich anec­dotes, Reclaim­ing Bar/​Bat Mitz­vah guides stu­dents and their par­ents to estab­lish a timetable lead­ing up to the cer­e­mo­ny, aid­ed by the book’s guid­ance on the rit­u­als and prayers they may be leading.

The book is espe­cial­ly use­ful as a sup­ple­ment to guid­ance from a rab­bi or edu­ca­tion­al leader. Read­ers will learn how to give a d’var Torah or ser­mon, how to match the right mitz­vah project for the stu­dent, and how to cel­e­brate after the reli­gious ser­vices with an appro­pri­ate Jew­ish spirit.

This is an out­stand­ing and use­ful book for any­one who works with pre-B-Mitz­vah” stu­dents from rab­bis, teach­ers, edu­ca­tion­al direc­tors, and stu­dents ages 10 – 13.

Relat­ed Content:

Judd Kruger Lev­ingston, Ph.D. and rab­bi, serves as Direc­tor of Jew­ish Stud­ies at Jack M. Bar­rack Hebrew Acad­e­my in the Philadel­phia area. Lev­ingston is the author of Sow­ing the Seeds of Char­ac­ter: The Moral Edu­ca­tion of Ado­les­cents in Pub­lic and Pri­vate Schools (Praeger, 2009).

Discussion Questions