Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ritual for boys. Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ritual for girls. The plural is B'nai Mitzvah for boys, and B'not Mitzvah for girls. According to Jewish law, when Jewish boys become 13 years old, they become accountable for their actions and become a bar mitzvah.
The word bar in Aramaic means “son,” and mitzvah means “commandment” in Hebrew. In rabbinic usage, the term bar mitzvah means “a young man subject to Jewish law.”
Inside tefillin (prayer boxes or phylacteries) are parchment scrolls inscribed with verses from the Torah. One box is worn on the head and another other on the arm; both have accompanying straps to hold them in place. One traditional observance many young people begin at bar/bat mitzvah age (or in preparation for it) is the donning of a tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin.
At many bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, the young person is called forth for the first time to recite the blessings before and after the reading of the section of the Torah. The Hebrew term for this honor is aliyah, which literally means an “ascension” or “elevation”. This same term is also traditionally used to describe moving to the Land of Israel.
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