During Bar Mitzvah Services
by Rivka C. Berman
us find ourselves celebrating the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah of our
children, joyously and gratefully, but with an underlying sadness caused
by the absence of those who are no longer with us. Parents,
grandparents, and even siblings who have passed on way before their
time. We find ourselves wanting to include them in some way.
What should be done?
Though no formal ritual exists to honor the memory of a relative at a
bat mitzvah, there are traditions to you may adapt. One can ask the
cantor to chant the memorial prayer. Lighting candles is another
expression of Jewish mourning and memorial tradition, as flickering
flames are symbolic of the soul. You may add a candle for your beloved
relatives who have passed at a candle lighting ceremony or just include
a candle for them on the cake.
It is also common and respectful to include special stories and
anecdotes about the relationship between the person you are missing and
the bat mitzvah girl and bar mitzvah boy, or how they are similar, or
how something the celebrants evokes old and cherished memories. You may
Include a tribute to the person in the bar mitzvah booklet with a
picture and a brief poem or quotation. (Perhaps a copy of the speech
given by those departed at another bar or bat mitzvah celebration.)
Life is beautiful and much of its beauty is brought
upon by the constant renewal of life and memories. Including the past in
the present and in the hopes for the future makes the ceremony more meaningful,
more spiritual and more emotionally rewarding.
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