Is there a season to celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvahs?

I know that Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s are tied to a Jewish girl/boy turning 12 and 13 respectively. However, in terms of the actual party does that usually also coincide with the birthday, or on average are most Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s scheduled to take place in a particular season (e.g. summer)?


When I was a kid they were all relatively close to your birthday, depending on when you could get a slot in the temple on Saturday, and the big party was right after sundown that day. My friends had them all through the year, all tied to birthdays and not the season.

that was 46 years ago, though.

No, the date is tied to the Jewish calendar and that’s why it seems out of synch with the actual birthdate (per the civil calendar). There’s no seasonal predisposition; the BM normally occurs on the Sabbath occurring 13 years after the birth according to the Jewish calendar. Sometimes, due to things like war, illness, etc., the date may be moved to a later Sabbath.

Also, it depends on the shul, mine did Bar/Bat Mitzvah at 13 for both boys and girls and the ceremony was exactly the same; some shuls have a different ceremony for girls; some shuls don’t Bat Mitvah girls at all. There’s a pretty big range of practice.

Anyway, they can occur at any time throughout the year, tied to the birthdate of the student.

FWIU, it’s not even necessary to have the ceremony. Upon reaching the age one is considered an adult.

No particular season, just as close as is convenient to the child’s actual birthday as it falls on the Hebrew calendar.

There are two periods of the Hebrew year during which celebrations are not held, a 7-week period during the spring (with day # 33 of that period an exception) and a 3-week period during the summer. Kids whose birthdays fall during those times will often have their parties pushed off until celebration is calendrically appropriate again.

cmkeller, why are those periods not appropriate? is the spring one tied to Passover?

I’ve never known anyone who scheduled their bar mitzvah according to the Hebrew calendar. In fact I don’t think I know anyone who even knows when their birthday is on the Hebrew calendar.

Perhaps the parent and/or soon-to-be-adult were unaware of the calendric involved. The Rabbi, no doubt, is aware of the conversion to the Hebrew calendar and will plan accordingly.

Here’s an interesting (to me) aside: here in Korea, most of the women I know celebrate their birthday by the Chinese (lunar) calendar, while the men celebrate the birthday by the Gregorian (lunisolar) calendar. My theory is that since the lunar calendar’s shorter, the women get two presents in one year!

Seems unlikely. It also means they age faster.

There’s absolutely no way I’m going to tell a woman that! :eek:

AFAIK, most people stop the non-celebrations on the 33rd day; I’ve been to dozens of weddings over the years that were between the 33rd day and the end of the 7 weeks.

My middle daughter’s 12th birthday came out in the middle of the summer, so if we had celebrated her bat mitzvah then most of her friends would have missed it (as they were away at camp). We waited, and had her party in September, when everyone was back and in school.

No doubt. However, I’ll bet they were told by a rabbi or other knowledgeable person when the Bar Mitzvah should be given the kid’s birth date on the secular calendar. You can find out what parsha (i.e. section of the Torah) you or your kid will be reading for their Bar Mitzvah by using a calculator like this or this. In other words, the date of one’s Bar Mitzvah is predetermined according to one’s date of birth whether you’re aware of it or not.

Northern Piper:

Only by coincidence. The spring period is a national mourning time for 24,000 Torah scholars, students of the great Rabbi Akiva, who died en masse during those weeks. The 33rd day is either the one day during that period that none died, or the day they stopped dying (in other words, they only died during the first 32 days at all).

The summer period is a national mourning time primarily over the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, but also for other tragic events that took place on the bookend days of that period, the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av.

Shinna Minna Ma:

Many people do, that’s true, but many others have the custom to not celebrate from the first of Iyar (the 16th day of that period) until the end, with day # 33 still being an exception. Most people, therefore, do try to avoid making big celebrations even after 33, and those who do make such celebrations generally do so in the last week of said period, which is a little less mourning-ful due to being so close to the holiday of Shavuot.

Our (conservative) synagogue is pretty flexible about the dates. For both my kids their actual b’nai mitzvot were scheduled months after their 13th bday. As mentioned earlier, there are times when these types of life cycle events are prohibited, or at least discouraged.

When we moved to Israel, my kids discovered that all their friends celebrated their birthdays according to the Jewish calendar. One of my kids then decided that she was going to celebrate every day between her secular birthday and her Hebrew birthday. I told her that was fine, as long as she didn’t expect a present each day. :slight_smile:

The weekend of my son’s bar mitzvah we all decided to use only our full Hebrew names- so I was Miriam bat Davide v’ Leah for everything!

This is accurate. A young adult is not “Bar/Bat Mitzvahed” as a verb. The B’nai Mitzvah is the young adult’s first time participating in the service as an adult, and the celebration is the celebration of carrying out a major religious precept. (In this case, the coming of age and first time participating in the service.) The rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a Jewish adult vest on the 13th birthday on the religious calendar, strictly as a function of age.

(Compare with USian voting rules: The right to vote vests on the 18th birthday, not by the act of registering to vote.)

The custom of holding the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony on Saturday arises from the participation normally taking the form of the young adult being called to the Torah, and for most Jews, most of the Torah readings they attend are on Shabbat. That said, my father had his Bar Mitzvah ceremony on the first day of Pesach, and I once attended a Bat Mitzvah on Rosh Hodesh (the minor observance for the start of the lunar month).

In my Temple Sabbath ceremonies were prized because there were more people at them, besides guests, of course. Back then girls got Friday night and boys got Saturday morning. The slots were reserved for Hebrew School students, which was exactly why I got sent to Hebrew School.

But Sabbath was not required. I was on minyan corps, and I showed up one Sunday morning when my neighbor (who did not go to Hebrew School) was having a bar mitzvah.

The Bar Mitzvah’s are normally celebrated around the week of the Hebrew date that the boy was born. This is usually within a month of his English birthday. The boy will read the Torah portion of his Hebrew birthday.