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Bat Mitzvah

My Grandmother, My Mother and I: Finding Our First Tallitot

My grandmother, my mother, and I walked into a store. Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? Actually, the three of us were on a mission to find a tallit for me. My bat mitzvah was approaching, and, since neither my mom nor my grandmother had a tallit of her own, they both wanted to accompany me.

I Got It From My Mama: Feminism, Judaism, and Me

Many things about my lifestyle confuse my grandmother.

She does not understand why I wear white after Labor Day, how I can text so quickly, or why I’m vegetarian.

And four years ago, she could not understand how my name would be read as I was called to the Torah to become a Bat Mitzvah.

Traditionally, I would be Ilana bat (my mother's Hebrew name, which happens to be Rachel) and (my father's Hebrew name.) The issue with that formula was, I only had one parent. I have only ever had one parent.

Judith Kaplan Eisenstein

The first American girl to publically celebrate a bat mitzvah, Judith Kaplan Eisenstein went on to become a Jewish educator, composer, and musicologist.

Sally Gottesman

As a teenager, Sally Gottesman lobbied for the first Saturday morning bat mitzvah at her synagogue; as an adult, she created groups for teens of both genders to discover a deeper connection to Judaism.

Sally Gottesman

Sally Gottesman’s bat mitzvah experience influenced almost all areas of her adult life – it made her believe that change was possible in the Jewish community, and today she is a management consultant to not-for-profit organizations, working primarily in the Jewish community with organizations such as American Jewish World Service, Tzedek Hillel, and The Hebrew Free Loan Society.

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

Wrestling with God and Jewish Tradition

Drawing on the biblical story in which Jacob "wrestles with God," engage with the artwork of Jewish feminist artist Helène Aylon to explore how we—as individuals and as a community—grapple with ideas about God and Jewish tradition.

When Do We Become 'Women?'

When do you become a woman? As in, someone that your friend or colleague actually refers to as a “woman.” It is is certainly not after your Bat Mitzvah (will get back to that later), nor is it when you graduate from high school, or even college.

The Power of the Bat Mitzvah

When I was brought on board at the Lev LaLev Fund in May 2011, I was asked if I could run the bat mitzvah project program. I thought, sure, how hard could it be? I was once a bat mitzvah girl too after all. Yet, a year later, as I was writing about the 15th anniversary of my own bat mitzvah in my e-newsletter to the bat mitzvah girls, I finally realized just how much had changed in that short amount of time.

Rebecca Lubetkin's 60th Bat Mitz-versary

“It’s funny how practices that seem way out in one generation become so commonplace in another that people wonder what took so long.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Bat Mitzvah." (Viewed on August 27, 2016) <http://jwa.org/tags/bat-mitzvah>.

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