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 Beyond Party Plans: Meaingful Mitzvah Projects
Orthodox Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

Meaningful Projects Beyond Party Plans
Why limit a bar or bat mitzvah’s meaning to the choice of the right invitations and caterer? This turning point is a fine time to strengthen an aspect of mitzvah observance with attention to a specific mitzvah or through a mitzvah project. During Elana Erdstein’s bat mitzvah year she began collecting unused samples of soap, shampoo and toothpaste from local hotels and corporations and donating them to homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters.

• Share the gift of Torah and offer to tutor a second grader who is struggling with learning to read Hebrew.
• Start davening the afternoon mincha service on the weekend.
• Begin contributing ten percent of your baby-sitting money to tzedaka, charity.
• Set the Shabbat table without being asked.
• Call your grandmother twice a month.
• Read a chapter of Tanach each day, even if it’s just the English translation.
• Learn the deeper meaning of one part of the shemona esrei prayer or any part of the daily prayers.
• Play regular games of Candyland with your little sister.
• Begin a coat collection for needy children. (Talk to your teacher about involving your whole class.)
• Read only Jewish books on Shabbat.
• Take little steps to become Jewish adult you always imagined you’d become.

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Why are the Bat and Bar Mitzvah Celebrated at Ages Twelve and Thirteen
• Post Bar Mitzvah Privileges (When Boy Reaches 13 Years of Age)
• Evolution of the Bar Mitzvah over the years
Evolution of the Bat Mitzvah over the years
• Is a formal celebration of a Bar MItzvah or Bat MItzvah required by Jewish law?
Settings for the Celebration of a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
Setting a Date for the Celebration of a Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah

• Bar Mitzvah Services and Ceremonial Rituals at the Synagogue
• Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The Tallit: Prayer Shawl
• Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The Tefillin, Phylacteries
• Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - The "Hat"
Getting Ready for the Bar Mitzvah - Reading Hebrew & Torah Reading
Preparation for the Bar Mitzvah Celebrations: Ideas and Alternatives
• Beyond Party Plans: Meaningful Projects for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah
• The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service: Instructional Booklets and Schedules
• The Bar Mitzvah Blessing Recited by the Boy's Father: Baruch Sh'Ptarani
• Memorial Prayers during the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebrations
• Videography and Photography during Bar Mitzvah Services at the Synagogue
• Bar Mitzvah boy and Bat Mitzvah Girl of Divorced Parents.  What to do?
• "Honors" during Torah Reading at Synagogue Bar Mitzvah Services
• Synagogue Etiquette: What to Wear, How to Conduct Oneself

• Party with a Jewish Flavor: Jewish Food, Jewish Music, Jewish Dance, and more
• Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Speeches
• Candle Lighting Ceremonies
• Charity and Good Deeds: The Bar Mitzvah opportunity for doing something good!

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