Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Details of the Bar & Bat Mitzvah ceremony

B’nei Mitzvah ceremonies can be celebrated in many appropriate local venues.  Contact the cantor’s office for a list of recommended locations.
While most B’nei Mitzvah ceremonies occur on Shabbat morning or afternoon, they can occasionally be conducted on Mondays, Thursdays or special days on which Torah is read such as Rosh Chodesh (new moon/month celebrations).
Saturday morning – Services begin promptly at 10 AM
Saturday afternoon – Services begin either at 4 PM or 5 PM promptly

This is generally referred to as a Havdalah service because it concludes with the lovely ceremony that ends Shabbat.  The service may begin either at 4PM or 5PM, depending upon the availability of the cantor and the location of the service.


1. Aliyot
There are up to four Aliyot for family/friends. The final Aliyah, called the Maftir, is for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student. Aliyot may be apportioned in groups. Anyone who is called up for an Aliyah must be 13 years of age or older.  It is expected that people called to the Torah wear a tallit.

A transliteration and translation of the Torah blessings will be given to you for distribution to family members and friends whom you will honor with aliyot.

2. Opening and Closing the Ark
Two or more people may be designated to open the doors and another two people may close the doors at another time. They may be of any appropriate age – Jew or non-Jew.

3. Dressing Torah/Holding Torah G’lilah and Hagbah
One able-bodied person is honored by raising the Torah after the reading. One or two people may then dress the Torah. Often the younger siblings or cousins of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah are accorded this honor.

4. Ushers
The family can appoint two (or more) ushers to greet people and assist in handing out Kippot and Siddurim (Prayer Books) before the service.

5. Readers
There are numerous opportunities to honor family members and friends with English readings as appropriate to the service.