Under Jewish law, children are exempt from obeying the commandments of the law until they are old enough to understand and apply it. For girls, this occurs at age twelve, and for boys this happens at age thirteen. At that time, they have a bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah, which literally means “daughter (or son) of the commandment”. The bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah ceremony formally marks the beginning of the assumption of obligation to follow the commandments. It is an important milestone for both child and parent as the son or daughter comes of age and can now take part in religious services. It is a definite cause for celebration!
Traditionally, the son or daughter is called up during Saturday Shabbat services to recite a blessing. In more recent times they may teach the entire lesson, read portions of the torah, or memorize the haftarah. A speech is customarily given, generally beginning with the phrase “Today I am a man” or “Today I am a woman”. A commitment is usually made by the child to continue to study the torah for the remainder of their lives. The service is followed by a reception that can be small or very elaborate (somewhat like a wedding reception).
As with any party, your bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah party starts with the perfect invitation. This is a momentous occasion for which family and friends should gather and mark the rite of passage of the individual. The invitation is the first way in which you can share your joy with others, in announcing your son or daughter’s growth in faith and responsibility, and inviting them to share in the festivities. The invitation will also serve as a keepsake for albums and scrapbooks to recall the event for years to come. An invitation will let your son or daughter know how important this day is to you, and give them something tangible to look back on and recall the cherished memories for years to come!