In Jewish tradition, a young girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah automatically at age 12, which is one year earlier that boys. This is because girls often reach puberty earlier than boys; and according to tradition, become obligated to observe all the customs and rituals designated to young women, including preparing themselves for their eventual role as wives and mothers. In Orthodox households, girls do not usually have religious rituals connected with being a Bat Mitzvah. While their male counterparts are inducted into their entry into manhood with religious rituals, including being called up to the Torah, religious girls mostly observe this event with family celebrations.
Orthodox Jewish traditions define definite roles for girls and later for women, which include keeping a kosher home and observing the Mitzvot, or religious and moral customs and laws. Once becoming a Bat Mitzvah, an Orthodox Jewish girl is expected to begin preparing herself for her household and family duties, including the observance of all the Jewish religious holidays, and of course Shabbat. Observance of the Shabbat, the Jewish day of prayer and rest is considered among religious Jews to be the most important holy of all days; and as stated in Chapter 2, verse 2 of the Book of Genesis: "And on the seventh day, God finished His work which He had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all the work He had made."
In less strict branches of Judaism, however, girls may have similar rituals as boys, including being called up to the Torah and fully participating in the religious service, including reading from the Torah and chanting the Haftorah (the biblical readings which were written after the Torah or Five Books of Moses). In fact, reaching the age of Bat Mitzvah may actually be the beginning of a girl's Jewish learning, and may induce her to continue her religious studies; even one day reaching the point of even becoming a Rabbi or Cantor in a Conservative or Reform congregation.
And, like Bar Mitzvah boys, becoming a Bat Mitzvah for girls is an excuse to invite all her friends and classmates for a get together or party! On such an occasion a Bat Mitzvah gift is traditionally given, either of religious significance, or simply anything that young 12 year olds would like, clothes especially. If you're looking for an original and unique way to combine the two, you can present the birthday girl with Jewish jewelry - both beautiful and meaningful on this occasion. Whatever the religious background, the milestone of becoming a Bat Mitzvah is becoming more meaningful in Jewish households, particularly as many Jewish girls become more interested in engaging in Jewish studies and their heritage.
Possible ideas for Bat Mitzvah gifts can include handmade jewelry, Star of David jewelry, Hamsa earrings, Bat Mitzvah jewelry boxes with Jewish themes, Shabbat candleholders, a beautiful Kabbalah bracelet, 24K Inscribed Shema Yisrael Necklace in Silver and other Judaica gifts.
Visit our Bat Mitzvah gifts section for some great gift ideas.
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