What does Bar/Bat Mitzvah mean?

The Bar & Bat Mitzvah is the moment in the Jewish life cycle that most deeply defines who Jews are as a people. The Bat & Bar Mitzvah ceremony celebrates the link in an unbroken chain of thousands of years of Jewish tradition. The words Bar & Bat Mitzvah literally mean “Son & Daughter of the Mitzvah.” In addition to meaning “commandment” the word Mitzvah also means “connection.” When a child reaches the age of Bar & Bat Mitzvah, he/she assumes a greater maturity and responsibility in his/her connection to Torah and Mitzvot, to his/her own Jewish identity, to the Jewish people as a whole, and most importantly to G‑d. 

 According to the Torah, a Bar & Bat Mitzvah is a young man who has reached the age of 13 and a young woman who has reached the age of 12.  Our sages teach us that at the age of 13 young men and women are endowed with a greater capacity for both seeking to do good and seeking selfish pursuits. This age marks the young adult’s arrival at the crossroads of moral and spiritual decision making that mature adults are involved with daily. As a community we celebrate the Bar & Bat Mitzvah in order to help our young adults become aware of and draw meaning from this significant transition in their lives.