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My "out of this world" bat mitzvah

My bat mitzvah party theme was outer space. Each of the tables were named after the nine planets in the solar system at the time: Mercury, Venus, Mars.

Learning and teaching bat mitzvah: It goes both ways

“But there’s so much to learn!” This is the traditional lament of every bat mitzvah girl I have tutored, and I’m sure it escaped my lips a few times when I was preparing for my own bat mitzvah as well. Between the prayers, the Torah portion, the Haftarah, the d’var Torah, and everything else a bat mitzvah entails, there is no doubt that in becoming a bat mitzvah there is quite a lot to learn. But I would like to offer an alternative framework: the bat mitzvah girl not as a learner, but as a teacher.

Book Review: Today I Am a Woman

Today I Am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah Around the World, (Eds Barbara Vinick and Shulamit Reinharz, Indiana University Press, 2011) is at once intellectual and imaginative.

El Adon-think-so: Battling singer's block with help from my mom

My New Jersey bat mitzvah party was a lavish affair.

My super-uncool, roller-skating bat mitzvah

I remember the crackling sound of late nineties alt-rock and the stench of roller-rink pizza like it was just yesterday.

A Jewish girl’s guide to a bat mitzvah project

I felt overwhelmed when deciding what to do for a bat mitzvah project.

Bat Mitzvah: A Balancing Act

A few months back, I dragged my 12-year-old, Harry-Potter-enthusiast sister to go with me to see the new Disney princess movie Tangled (which retells the Rapunzel story). In one part of the film, Rapunzel has just escaped from the tower against her mother's wishes and is encountering the World, and her independence, for the first time. (Watch the clip here.) While her companion patiently waits for her to come to terms with her new-found freedom, Rapunzel goes from one extreme to the other, from excitement to shame and worry.

Esther M. Broner, 1930 - 2011

She was our spiritual leader. She made room for us at the table by creating a whole new one—a Seder table at which women’s voices were heard. She encouraged us to ask the Four Questions of Women and to recite women’s plagues, of which there were always more than 10.

Reinventing Rituals: June, a month of Pride and same-sex marriages

June is full of irony: not only is June Pride month, but it is also the unofficial start to wedding season. So many are still fighting for equal marriage. As I write this, lawmakers in Albany are struggling to garner enough votes to make same-sex marriage legal in New York state (see resources to get involved at the end of this post).

We remember Esther M. Broner

We were saddened to wake up to the news that Esther M. Broner passed away yesterday. A beloved novelist, playwright, ritualist, and feminist writer, Esther M. Broner was born on July 8, 1927, in Detroit, Michigan. Her writing, including Her Mothers (1975), A Weave of Women (1978) and many others, made her one of the most important teachers of Jewish feminism and feminist Judaism.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ritual." (Viewed on December 1, 2015) <>.


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