At the age of twelve, a girl reaches her religious majority: she becomes an effective member of the community of Israel. Therefore, she is bound to observe all the prescriptions of Judaism and, therefore, she also acquires the right to participate actively in public manifestations of worship. Mitzvot has been remembered by tradition to mark, publicly, in the Synagogue, the accession of a child to adulthood. Our Community is happy to serve as a setting for the ceremonies who honor his young Bné and Bnot-Mitzva. Since the Bat Mitzva constitutes an important stage in the life of the child, who becomes an adult, this exhilarating moment must be carefully prepared: it is about communicating to our children the pride of belonging to Judaism by teaching them its spiritual, moral and religious values so that they can assume them with competence and dignity. The procedure proposed by our Community is therefore intended to promote the religious formation of the future Bat Mitzva and to help parents prepare a ceremony which leaves an indelible mark on their child. Indeed, celebrating a Bat Mitzva at the Montevideo Synagogue does not mean for our Community to simply provide resources or premises. The families of the future Bat Mitzva should integrate into our Community, in particular by participating regularly in Shabbat services, an essential condition for the celebration of the Bat Mitzva in our Synagogue.
The celebration of Bnot-Mitzva for young girls aged 12 is a recent activity, which does not correspond to any halachic obligation. Tradition has not set any strict framework for this celebration. The field is therefore free for some creativity on this subject, in accordance with traditional Jewish law.
Aware of the importance of this event for many young girls, the Ohel Avraham community has therefore developed its own framework to organize this celebration in strict respect of the halacha.
The Bat Mitzvah family celebrates this event on the Shabbat following the girl’s 12th birthday. Like a Bar Mitzva, Torah aliot is reserved (in part) for the Bat Mitzvah family. His dad or his brothers can honor her by reading haftara for example. The Rabbi will devote his intervention to the Bat Mitzva and address it as he does at a Bar Mitzva. If they wish, the family offers Community Kiddush and this can be the occasion for the Bat Mitzva to deliver a Torah teaching in front of the assembly gathered in the living rooms of the Edmond Weil Community Center. In the end, this course is very close to that of a Bar Mitzva.
As with a young boy preparing his Bar Mitzva, the community expects a real investment from the young girl and her family. This requires serious preparation, in particular through courses in the year preceding the celebration. This training will mainly revolve around the following topics: knowledge of the main prayers of the Sidour, Shabbat, Kashrut and Tsiniout laws. At the start of the training, the Rabbi will give the family a booklet presenting the meaning of the Bat Mitzva and the role that a Jewish woman is called to play through 12 letters from a father to his daughter.
Beyond this religious training, preparation for the Bat Mitzva is also an opportunity for the young girl to integrate into community life by participating in services and cultural activities on a regular basis as a full member of our community.
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