Background Videos

Explore these three videos and related discussion questions by Rabbi Carole Balin.

JWA’s Encyclopedia entry on Bat Mitzvah: American Jewish Women provides additional historical context.

Wait! Bat Mitzvah is Only 100 Years Old?!: How the Ceremony Came of Age

  • What surprises you about Judith Kaplan’s bat mitzvah story?
  • How did bat mitzvah emerge in your community? 
  • What was your experience of bat mitzvah?

The Girls Who Sparked a Jewish Gender Revolution in Jewish Life

  • How did bat mitzvah pioneers effect change?
  • What changes in ritual have you seen in your lifetime?
  • What proposed changes haven’t caught on in your community?
  • In what ways have women in your community sought greater participation in Jewish life?
  • What are the obstacles to change in your community? In the larger Jewish world?
  • Can you think of other examples where girls pushed for change?

“I Didn’t Want To Be Called A Girl, and I Didn’t Want a Bar Mitzvah”: The Next Frontier in Inclusion in Jewish Life

  • How does gender affect your relationship to Judaism?
  • How is your experience different from that of your parents’ generation? The next generation?
  • Do you think we should differentiate between the coming-of-age rituals for female-identified, male-identified, and nonbinary individuals?
  • Will there come a time when there will be only b’mitzvah? Why or why not?

Rise Up/Bat Mitzvah at 100 is a project of the Jewish Women’s Archive and SAJ: Judaism That Stands For All.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Background Videos." (Viewed on June 10, 2023) <>.


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