Three of the most important elements of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah service are your Words of Welcome, D’var Torah and your Thank You speech. These are your opportunities to address your family and friends (in English!) with your thoughts on the importance of the day. The more thoughtful and personal your speeches are, the more interesting and engaging they will be for your congregation.
The three speeches:
Words of Welcome
Welcome to your family and friends
- the meaning of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah (to you)
- personal comments on your experience (what have you learned about yourself, your heritage, your responsibilities, becoming a Jewish adult)
- summary of Torah Portion (what happens in this section of Torah)
- events/ideas contained in the chapter (what speaks to you)
- lessons & commentary (what did you learn, what can we learn)
- thanks to individuals for love, support, guidance, preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah and attendance
- please be sure to thank your family, teachers, tutors, clergy, pianist, friends
While this outline is meant to help you construct your speech, please understand that you should be creative with it.
Once the speech is in its final form, please type it out in large font (22) and highlight the last three words of every sentence or long phrase, as these will serve as your “look-up” reminders (eyes to the people whom you are addressing). Example: “The name of this week’s Torah portion is Bereishit, from the book of Genesis.” Then practice communicating thoughts, not merely reading words. Practice slowly, loudly, clearly and with a lot of expression.
Your teachers and Cantor Li-Paz will be happy to help you with your speeches.