So is it about the “Bar” or about the “Mitzvah”? At times, it is hard to tell! If you’re looking for your daughters Bat Mitzvah year to be a meaningful one, if you want her to actually grow from it as a Jewess, then read on to find 6 ways you can help your daughter prepare meaningfully for her bat mitzvah!
1. Bat Mitzvah preparation course – Attend a bat mitzvah course in which you will learn relevant material towards the occasion of your bat mitzvah. Many synagogues, temples, community centers and even schools communities have some sort of learning program which will give the bat mitzvah girl a firm basis to understand the importance of her role as a woman in Jewish life.
2. Attend a mother and daughter bat mitzvah course – This is a wonderful time to strengthen the bond between you and your daughter – you are after all the next two links in the chain of Jewish generation, and a learning program aimed at tightening the bond between you can be very powerful. For more information about the MaTaN mother and daughter bat mitzvah programs in various Jewish communities click here.
3. Prepare as partners! If a course is too much for you, you can choose a Jewish book to read together. This can be a growing and learning experience for the two of you. Some recommended books are To be a Jewish Women by Lisa Aiken, or The Diary of Anne Frank, or For Kids – Putting G-d on Your Guest List, by Jeffrey K. Salkin She can discuss the book as part of her Bat Mitzvah speech.
4. Learning with a mentor or tutor – Personalize your daughter’s bat mitzvah learning with a tutor or mentor! You can choose what is important for your daughter to understand, as she stands on the threshold of Jewish womanhood. Are there questions that she frequently asks with regard to Judaism? Is there a topic that she is particularly interested in, but don’t know how to explore it from a Jewish perspective (like the environment, the status of women, etc)? Does she want to know about her Jewish name, and explore the qualities of women who have borne this name? All these are ideas for the bat mitzvah learning with a mentor. You can even do this from the comfort of your own home. If you would like to learn with a bat mitzvah mentor online or through skype then email us for more information!
5. A Bat Mitzvah Project – Responsibility for the world around us is one of the hallmarks of Judaism. In a Bat Mitzvah project your daughter can contribute a few hours a week to others. She can volunteer to work in a shelter for the homeless, help out in a kindergarden, with friends she can prepare a show for senior citizens, or participate in a marathon to raise money for a cause that is important to her. She can report back on her experience in her Bat Mitzvah speech.
6. Giving Tzedaka – Giving charity is one of the highest ideals of Judaism. What a great time to teach your daughter this value by encouraging her to partake of this mitzvah. She can design her own invitations and photocopy them instead of having them printed. The money that you have saved on printing you can donate to one of your favorite causes. Or you can ask her if she wants to donate a certain percentage of her Bat Mitzvah money to a cause that is important to her.
Do you have more ideas to share? Please tell us about them in the comment box!