What Does Bar Mitzvah Mean?
Reprinted with permission from the Second Jewish Catalog, published by the Jewish Publication Society.
Being bar/bat mitzvah and becoming a bar/bat mitzvah (one who is obligated to perform the commandments) do not have a cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, one is a full-fledged member of the Jewish community, able to participate in all aspects of its religious expression and existence, even if one has never had a bar/bat mitzvah celebration. All that is necessary is that one be 12 years old if a female and 13 if a male.
It is common to hear people lament the fact that they did not have the opportunity to celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah. Adult bar/bat mitzvahs have become increasingly common in recent years. Many an individual who did not have the opportunity to have one at the proper age has chosen to observe this rite of passage
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