Simchat Bat ceremony

Simchat Bat ceremony picture courtesy of Rebecca Kowalsky

Owing to the fact that the concept of celebrating a bat mitzvah for a Jewish girl is relatively modern, and it is less proscribed than the bar mitzvah celebration, there are many wonderful and creative avenues in which to mark the occasion. The first step is to make some decisions:

Decisions – WHAT: Sit down with your spouse, close family member or friend, and get a general picture of what you want. Do you want the Simchat Bat to be a big party or something more intimate?

Decisions – WHO: Do you and your spouce want to lead the celebration? Or do you have a rabbi or knowledgeable friend in mind to lead or Simchat Bat? Are there older siblings that you would like to involve, and what would you like them to do? Having them give a meaningful Jewish gift to their new sister–like at tzedakah box– is always a sweet moment, especially if it’s something that they can make themselves.

Decisions – WHEN: Traditionally baby Jewish girls are named in the synagogue during Torah reading. The Torah reading takes place on Mondays, Thursdays or Shabbat after the synagogue service. You may want to have your Simchat Bat after the baby naming in the synagogue.  Having a Simchat Bat on the beginning of a new Jewish month creates  a nice connection to the Jewish calendar because of its particular female association.Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the month) is traditionally a minor holiday set aside for the enjoyment of women.

Decisions – WHERE: Decide whether you would like to have your daughter’s Simchat Bat – at the Synagogue, in a hired hall or in your home. The location you choose will depend on what type of event you plan on having. If you have it in the synagogue after the Torah reading, you may want to celebrate with a Kiddish (a light meal). If you want to have it in a hall, you may want to have a catered affair. If you want to have it at home, you may want to either have an intimate family meal (after synagogue on shabbat) or clear out your living room and garden to host visitors for a light meal or snacks.