Bar Mitzvah is a phrase thats means son of the commandment. It is both Aramaic and Hebrew, with Bar meaning son while Bat means daughter. It is in general, a term that means the coming of age of a child, and is referred to as becoming a bat or bar. However, it is nowadays used as the ceremony, that this coming of age occurs, and thus the bar Mitzvah or bat Mitzvah. Jewish law stipulates that when a child reaches the age of 13 years for male children and 12 years for female children, they then become responsible for all their actions and thus become a bar or bat Mitzvah (Whiteman 2008). Although it is important to note that in some synagogues that are reformist and conservative, both the boys and the girls celebrate their bar bat Mitzvahs at the age of 13. It is not by coincidence that at this age, children reach physical puberty. Before the children reach this age, the parents to the children are responsible for the adherence of traditions and the law (Jewish) by their children, and after reaching this age the children are capable of bearing responsibility of Jewish traditions, ethics, law and rituals and are also handed the privilege of being participants in all areas of life of the Jewish community. In todays modern setting, and even in the more non orthodox synagogues, this ceremony may involve the young woman or young man being called upon to read a portion of the Haftarah, reading the Torah or both at any service especially a Shabbat or giving a discussion or explanation of that weeks Torah portion also called dvar Torah. What is to be done in exact detail at the BarBat Mitzvahs varies from different denomination in the Judaism realm and can also depend on the practices that specific congregations practice (Whiteman 2008).
BarBat Mitzvahs and Their Significance to Jewish Culture as a Cultural Ritual
Bar  bat Mitzvah as described above is a ritual event that has a wide scope of meaning to the whole family and thus, it is of very big significance to the early adolescent. The scope of meaning is wide to the family considering that the parents will no longer be responsible for the actions of the child and this will go to reflect on the role that the parents played in the life of the child (Waskow 2007).
Most families have still failed to understand the structure and the content of the service held at the synagogue nor have they learnt how to understand the Torah and the prophets. The BarBat Mitzvahs aid such families in understanding the Torah and the prophets as they get to attend the BarBat Mitzvahs of their family members more often, especially in the case where there are a number of children within the family.
Many families do participate in the BarBat Mitzvahs religious rituals at certain intervals, but still feel estranged from it. This can be cured by attending the BarBat Mitzvahs of family members and understanding what is really happening and connecting with it. This will assist families that attend these BarBat Mitzvahs and never get to feel like a part of the larger Jewish community. This is especially true to families that attend the BarBat Mitzvahs of other children from other families.
The service at which these BarBat Mitzvahs are held in most cases invite guests who are just there to watch the event as spectators but do not necessarily get involved nor do they participate in the ritual or the events that are tied to the rituals themselves. This even includes guests that are not Jewish. This is significant in educating the non-Jewish community on the culture and traditions of the Jewish community and this in the long run will bring social cohesion in communities that are diverse and includes the presence of Jewish families (Bertram 2007).
The party that follows the ceremony in most cases has threatened to eclipse the significance of the ceremony itself. Thus it is important to note that it is the role of the parents to ensure that this does not happen by ensuring that the children that are supposed to be undergoing the BarBat Mitzvahs attend special classes by Rabbis to ensure that they learn the importance of the ritual and the responsibilities that come with the initiation (Marcus 2004).
There are certain changes in the pattern of the family that may challenge the success of the enactment of ritual. It is important that such changes do not compromise the ritual and ceremony process. To the contrary, the ritual should be designed in a manner that it should solidify the family bonds, despite any differences that may be present within the family. The BarBat Mitzvahs should act as a means of the family to reunite (Oppenheimer 2005).
The BarBat Mitzvahs rituals are perceived to hold a powerful form of attraction and it is normally experienced to be emotionally significant. This is true for both the children who are involved in the ritual as well as the family members whose children are being initiated. The emotional feeling that these individuals experience can almost be compared to the emotions evoked during a graduation ceremony or the birth of a new born baby (Bertram 2007).
Despite the Jewish knowledge in terms of Hebrew literacy, understanding and practice of the religious observances of the BarBat Mitzvahs being limited, BarBat Mitzvahs virtually enact the roles of the Jewish community credibly and without exception. Thus it does not matter if the community comes from Africa and was born there, as long as they understand that it is their culture even though they do not grow in their cultural environment, this ritual gives them no choice but to embrace their culture (Marcus 2004).
It is important to note that a number of people are working on developing programs and methods to ensure that the BarBat Mitzvahs present a more satisfying and meaningful experiences to the participants and the families themselves, not forgetting the institutions that they take place in. Thus the BarBat Mitzvahs are assisting the families to work with Jewish educators to help them make this initiation into an adult stage, a more rewarding experience and an unforgettable one (Bertram 2007).
The entry of these children into adolescence is a very important landmark in their developmental process. Thus, the process that leads to the BarBat Mitzvah ritual or ceremony can help in acknowledging the personal tasks of the construction of identity and the clarification of values, thus BarBat Mitzvah preparation can work effectively in the achievement of this task. This transition into adolescence is known to involve autonomy and looking at fellow peers as a setter of standards of values and behavior (Oppenheimer 2005).
The BarBat Mitzvah does not necessarily signify that the child has entered adulthood, in any way, but rather it just shows that the child is now more responsible and is expected to be more capable of understanding the Jewish culture and rituals. However, the BarBat Mitzvah can be used to express the obligation that the child has to perform Mitzvot (Bertram 2007).
The BarBat Mitzvah can present an opportunity for the family to learn and even to an extent transform and grow. This is because as the child learns to read the Torah, he or she will get assistance from the family members, and this will go far in bringing the family closer together and even helping the other family members learn some aspect of the Torah that they did not know of before.
The BarBat Mitzvah is an opportunity to build families that are supportive in relationship issues and also within the congregation. This is because as the family assists the children that are being initiated, they not only support children from their own families, but also children from their congregation. This helps in bringing different families within the congregation together and this helps in building the relationship within the Jewish community (Bertram 2007).
While the BarBat Mitzvah will signify the end of the Jewish education, it is important to note that it also leads to a successful post BarBat Mitzvah program, where the children who have been initiated get to learn more deeper aspects of the Jewish way of life and the teachings of the Haftarah (Oppenheimer 2005).


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