After a girl turns 12, the Jewish tradition has her celebrating her coming of age with a bat mitzvah. In the Jewish faith, she now has all the rights of the adult women, as well as the responsibilities of following the commandments in the Torah.
Similarities Between the Bat Mitzvah and the Bar Mitzvah
Family and close friends typically gather to commemorate both of these special events by having a party and other types of celebration. The Bat Mitzvah is similar to the male version, called a Bar Mitzvah, when boys take on the obligations of men in the Jewish faith. Both of them are major events for the family.
Some of the similarities include parties and other types of celebration. Both the girls and the boys give speeches that thank everyone for joining them at this important time of their lives. They talk about what this milestone means to them, and they share some of the things they hope to accomplish in their lives. If they plan to have a mitzvah project, they share what they hope to do and what they want to accomplish.
Differences Between the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
There are also some differences between what the girls and boys do during this special time. First of all, Jewish boys have their coming of age celebration when they turn 13, while girls have their bat mitzvah at the age of 12. Boys may publicly read from the Torah, but the girls don’t.
Personal Messages for a Bat Mitzvah Card
When you give a Jewish girl a card for her bat mitzvah, it’s important to include a personal note. You may choose to give her a meaningful gift. However, it isn’t always necessary, depending on your relationship with her.
Although every birthday is important, this one is extra special because it’s when she transitions from being a girl to taking on the responsibilities of a woman. Put extra thought into your message to show your support and confidence that she is up to the task.
Here are some thoughtful things you may want to write in the bat mitzvah card:
- Mazel tov on your bat mitzvah! We love celebrating with you on this special day!
- Happy Bat Mitzvah! May this new chapter of life deliver many blessings!
- Wishing you many blessings as you celebrate this special time.
- I’m so happy you invited me to celebrate your bat mitzvah! Congratulations and many blessings in the years to come.
- Congratulations! Praying for joy and success in the years ahead.
- I’m happy and proud to celebrate this special time with you. Mazel tov!
- We’re proud of you for reaching this special milestone in life.
- Mazel tov to a young woman who makes this family proud.
It's fine to write a funny message. However, don't write anything you wouldn't want her family to read. In other words, employ your speech filters to prevent public embarrassment or an uncomfortable situation.
Here are some humorous messages you may add if you want:
- You’re finally a grownup. It's about time. Mazel tov!
- Yesterday you were a child playing with toys. Now that you’re an adult, may I have your dolls?
- Now that you’ve celebrated your bat mitzvah, I have a question. Is being an adult all that it’s cracked up to be?
- You might be an adult in the faith now, but you still have to obey your curfew.
- Welcome to the world of adulthood, bills, jobs, and family responsibilities.
Gifts for a Girl Celebrating Her Bat Mitzvah
If you choose to give a bat mitzvah gift, make sure it’s appropriate for the occasion. Some things you may want to consider are a piece of jewelry with the Star of David, a Challah board, a pair of Shabbat candlesticks, or something else that commemorates this major turning point in her life.
If you want to give her something but can’t decide on a specific item, you may give money, as long as it is in multiples of 18. For example, you may give her $18, $36, $54, or $72. The number 18 symbolizes giving life or “chai.”
Bat Mitzvah Celebration Honor
Not only is this a special time for the young woman celebrating her bat mitzvah, but it is also an honor to be invited to any of the events. As you share your thoughts, hold that honor close to your heart and show your respect for what she has accomplished. Be supportive of her hopes and dreams, and maintain proper etiquette while you're at the gathering.
Remember that she invited you because you’re special to her. Dress in appropriate attire—typically what you’d wear to a semi-formal wedding. Even if you aren’t Jewish, you should follow along in the tradition of the bat mitzvah.
Men may be asked to wear a kippah or yarmulke that the family of the guest of honor will supply if you don’t have one. During the services in the synagogue, men and woman may sit in separate areas and reunite afterward. If you’re unsure of anything, ask someone what to do. This is a time of celebration, and people want this to be a positive experience for everyone in attendance.