A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
Shir Tikvah Office: 503-473-8227

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Aaron's Bar Mitzvah

The terms bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah mean “liable to the commandments”. According to Jewish tradition, a girl reaches this status at the age of twelve and a half, and a boy at the age of thirteen. Generally, this is considered to be the age at which students develop the ability to take responsibility for their own ethical behavior.

Students work with the Rabbi and their Hebrew tutors to prepare for the day on which they are called to the Torah for the first time. The Shir Tikvah community welcomes these new members on behalf of Am Israel (The People of Israel).

Parent/s and children should make the decision together that marking your child’s commitment to becoming an adult member of the Jewish community in general, and the Shir Tikvah community in particular, through the ceremony of Bat/Bar Mitzvah, is something that the entire family finds meaningful. It is worthwhile to carefully consider the reality of the work involved, including the juggling of schedules that will occur, and make sure the family is ready to support the child in reaching this goal.

Preparations at Shir Tikvah include:

  • weekly meetings with a tutor for a year or more prior to the event
  • 1-on-1 meetings with the Rabbi and staff
  • work on a Mitzvah Project
  • attendance at Junior Minyan and Shabbat services the year before the event
  • membership in good standing for 2 years prior to the event

Junior Minyan

As the focus for your student shifts from the classroom to the synagogue, Shir Tikvah offers a specialized time for students to meet with their cohort, their teacher and their community.

On the second Saturday of every month (except July) Junior Minyan will meet in the library at the synagogue. Students and their families will be expected to attend between now and their bar/bat mitzvah(Parents need to get oriented to Shabbat morning practice as well!) Students are also encouraged to attend services when their peers are being called to the Torah.

Rivkah Coburn will lead students during the first hour, weaving together prayer and Torah study. Students will join Rabbi and the rest of the community the second hour for the regular morning Shabbat Torah service.

More information about the ritual and celebratory aspects:




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