Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Bar / Bat Mitzvah in Israel?

July 18, 2007

Destination Weddings and Now…

Many people have heard of destination weddings. Now, imagine a destination Bar / Bat Mitzvah!

St. Thomas Synogogue

( source: OnePaper)

Some are even going as far as having a religious service in the Caribbean in the famed St. Thomas Synagogue. It’s a beautiful looking place, but allow me to introduce Israel as the best place for your milestone life-cycle celebration!

Many people come to Israel to have their Bar / Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall: Western Wall

What is a Bar / Bat Mitzvah?

For those of you that don’t already know, here is the different between a Bar and Bat Mitzvah:

A boy attains his religious maturity and becomes responsible to fulfill all Torah commandments at the age of 13. A girl becomes equally responsible one full year earlier, at the age of 12, corresponding to her earlier maturation.


Tips for After a Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Here are some ways for the new Bar / Bat Mitzvah to “give back” to the community:

1. Participate in a charitable project.

We are very much concerned that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process reflects the ethical and communal responsibility incumbent on a Jewish adult. To this end, we require each Bar/Bat Mitzvah student to design and complete a Tzedakah project during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. The Rabbi will discuss this project with the student at the initial meeting one year in advance of the ceremony and at intervals over the course of the year.

(Source: Beth Shalom of San Francisco)

2. Reject materialism

Sources such as the Washington Post have described how elaborate and expensive a Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration can be here in the States. A trip to Israel for this major family event for some families could actually be scaling down the trip!

3. Continue to participate. The religious journey of a Jew doesn’t end at Bar / Bat Mitzvah age! In fact, it should serve as a springboard to further mitzvot (religious observance).

Here’s a great brief video of a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall:


Back on track: a break from the holidays

June 5, 2007

First it was Passover.  Then Counting the Omer.  Then Shavous.  Then Memorial Day.

It feels like it has been a marathon of holidays…not enough time in the week to get everything done that I need to.  Then its Shabbos.

Believe me, not that I mind it.  Its a fantastic time of year to get in touch with one’s spiritual side.  But it certainly does lay the pressure on.

But from here on in (at least, until Tisha B’Av), it looks like things are back to normal.  For now.

Lag B’Omer in Meron, Israel

June 1, 2007

There is a custom to celebrate Lag B’Omer in Meron, Israel. It is the Yartzheit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Here is a video of this year’s celebration: