Judaism, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah


A bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, meaning "son/ daughter of the commandment" in Aramaic, refers a Jewish series of rituals performed by adolescent males at age 13 and females at age 12. The ceremony of becoming bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is not required by Jewish law but is held sacred. The ceremony consists of, among other things, leading part of a worship service and reading the sacred text in front of the assembly. This paramount event in the life of a Jewish youth has evolved over the centuries, but the origins of the ritual date back as early as the 1st century C.E. Many Jewish parents of past and present view this rite of passage as an important step in the life of their adolescent progeny.

Original Publication Citation

Hatch, T. & Marks, L. (2014). Bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. In L. Ganong, M. Coleman, J. G. Golson (Eds.), The Social History of the American Family (pp. 104–105). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. (1,200 words; my contribution was about 80 percent).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



The Social History of the American Family




Religious Education


Asian and Near Eastern Languages

University Standing at Time of Publication

Adjunct Faculty