This post suggests a list of 12 ways a Bat Mitzvah girl can make her Bat Mitzvah more meaningful, including Torah learning, taking on specific commandments, doing a community service project, and writing a personal prayer. This list was published by JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and shared on Ritualwell, a project of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College that provides a platform for creating new Jewish practices and observances.
Twelve Ways to Make Your Bat Mitzvah Meaningful
- Make a Siyum – A Bat Mitzvah is a time to solidify your commitment to Torah study. So start now! Many Bat Mitzvah girls have made siyumim of a seder of Mishnah, a chapter of Gemara, or a book of Tanakh as a way of entering into Jewish adulthood.
- Have a Women’s Tefilla – Learn to layen, and celebrate this coming of age among female family and friends as you are called to the Torah.
- Adopt a Special Mitzvah – As you become a “daughter of mitzvot,” choose a mitzvah that is special to you, learn about it, and take extra care in performing it throughout the year.
- Learn about your Ancestors – Use this new stage of life to reflect on where you came from. Ask your parents and grandparents about their lives growing up, and learn about your roots.
- Speak up in Synagogue – Many Bat Mitzvah girls now deliver the sermon in synagogue on the Shabbat they celebrate their Bat Mitzvah. The Rabbi often calls the Bat Mitzvah girl to the pulpit and responds to her speech.
- Do a Community Service Project – What better way to prepare for acceptance of the mitzvot than to actively engage in them? In preparing for their Bat Mitzvot, girls have adopted community service projects, such as visiting old age homes, or feeding the homeless.
- Learn About Female Role Models – As you become Bat Mitzvah, it is important to have female role models to identify with. Bat Mitzvah girls have studied women in Tanakh, Talmud and Medieval and Modern Jewish history.
- Write a Prayer – Use this occasion to write a tefilah. What are you thankful for? What are your hopes for the future? You can share it with others at your celebration, or keep it for yourself.
- Donate a percentage of your Bat Mitzvah Money to Tzedakah – You can start keeping mitzvot right away by giving maaser, 10% of the money from you receive as gifts for your Bat Mitzvah to a tzedakah that you choose. It will make you feel richer!
- Study Something Connected to your Name – Many Bat Mitzvah girls learn something connected to their name for their Bat Mitzvot. A girl named Ilana may study laws related to trees in Tanakh, and a girl named Sarah may study the biblical Sarah, as well as famous Sarahs throughout Jewish history.
- Write it Out – After spending time studying a particular text or issue, write it up, and distribute it to the guests at your Bat Mitzvah. You and they will have it forever.
- Study Something Connected to the Time of your Bat Mitzvah – Develop a special connection with the Jewish calendar. If your Bat Mitzvah falls around Chanukah, study the laws and meaning of Chanukah. If it falls near a fast day, study the laws pertaining to fast days.