Bar/Bat Mitzvah

"At 13 one is fit for keeping the commandments."

- Samuel the Younger

The ceremony of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks the time when our youth reach the age of 13 – a moment in the Jewish life cycle when a person is considered old enough to take responsibility for their Jewish life. At this time, the student affirms their willingness to be part of our Jewish community by leading worship, reading Torah and sharing with the congregation a lesson they have gleaned from their Torah studies.

Preparation for this special moment begins the moment a child goes through Consecration (age 5-6). The child continues their Hebrew studies, which hit peak intensity around 6 months prior to their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. At that time, each student works with our rabbis and cantor as well as a Hebrew tutor and is expected to complete B'mitzvotav – a learning-through-doing program that helps the child begin to understand what being a Jewish adult entails.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah dates are set during the month of March in the year when a student turns 11. The celebration may take place no sooner than one month before the student turns 13 and has completed four years of Hebrew language study and four consecutive years of Religious School. Students are expected to continue their formal Jewish education through Confirmation in tenth grade.

IHC recently launched its own Hebrew language study through our new Jewish Learning Program (Religious School). For more information about registering a student for the Jewish Learning Program, contact Barbara Chapman.