Orthodox Judaism Grapples with Bat Mitzvah

As girls have become the educational equals of boys in Orthodox Judaism, rabbis need to explore halakhah to create a normative bat mitzvah ceremony.

Print this page Print this page

In six months, we will make a bat mitzvah for our oldest child. For us, it will not be a marker of a year's worth of study and practice but 12 years of educational and spiritual investment. The model of Pirke Avot is still the timeline we follow. At 5, Talia received her first set of Humash, or the five books of Moses. At 7, she completed them. At 10, she received her first set of Mishnah and completed the first book with hopes to progress further.

At 12, her acceptance of mitzvot is part of a natural and obvious course of active Jewish living. Our only concern is the next part of the rabbinic dictum: "At 18 for marriage." We're not quite ready for that and might have to investigate commentaries for a get-out clause!

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Erica Brown

Dr. Erica Brown is the Director for Adult Education at The Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning and consults for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She is an author-winning author and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award. Erica has served as an adjunct professor at American University and George Washington University. She lectures on subjects of Jewish interest and leadership.