It has become an increasingly common practice for adult men and women to celebrate an ‘adult” or a “second” Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  Many post- bar mitzvah cash-strapped parents would roll their eyes at the very thought of “going through all of that again”, however there is a very good reason to celebrate a Second Bar Mitzvah in one’s golden years.

Why you celebrate an Adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Under the logic that a “normal” lifespan is 70 years, when a man reaches the age of 83, or a women reaches 82, they will celebrate their second 13th or 12th year. Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas celebrated his Second Bar Mitzvah during his 83rd year and said “I felt good, because I felt now I’m 13-years-old again! I can start all over. It was very touching. People said, “Kirk, now you’ve gotten religious.” I don’t think so. ‘Religion’ implies too much ritual. I prefer to say I have become more interested in the spiritual side.”

There are also those who feel that their first Bar/ Bat Mitzvah was celebrated at a time when they were not quite ready or mature enough to undergo a meaningful experience, and they would like to have a second chance. These days it is a rite of passage to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah however, in years gone by young girls rarely marked their Bat Mitzvah year with a meaningful ceremony, and people often didn’t always have the money, opportunity or knowledge to mark their 13th year. In addition to this, there are people who converted to Judaism at a later stage in life who wanted an opportunity to mark their commitment to the Jewish faith and people.

How would you celebrate?

  • You may want to be in touch with your local rabbi to find out how your synagogue/temple celebrates this occasion.
  • You may want to partake in a course of Jewish learning about something that interests you or a new mitzvah/ Jewish commitment that you would like to take on
  • Many people chose to celebrate an intimate occasion with close friends or family at a special restuarant/location. These days you can even take your loved ones on a cruise to mark this occasion. Alternatively you can have a big and fomal occasion
  • Some people want to mark the celebration by making a meaningful contribution (time and/or money) to a cause that is important to them.
  • It is increasingly popular to go to Israel to celebrate a second Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • It is a nice idea to link the generations on this special occasion – get your children and grandchildren involved in preparations or presentations

If you celebrated your Second/Adult Bar Mitzvah or second/Adult Bat Mitzvah in a meaningful way and would like to share it with us we’d love to hear from you in the comment box below!