Over the last 20 years, adult b’nei mitzvah (pl.) have become increasingly popular. Many adult women, and some men, did not celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah as a child. Often, planning their own child’s bar/bat mitzvah motivates them to think about doing something for themselves as well.
There is no fixed and established course of study for an adult bar/bat mitzvah. Usually, an individual synagogue rabbi designs her own curriculum, often a year or even two of course study on basic Judaism and Hebrew, as well as Torah-reading and liturgical skills. Some women are particularly interested in learning feminist torah commentary or the history of Jewish women.
Adult b’nei mitzvah are usually celebrated as a group by the entire class of “graduates.” Everyone reads a piece of the Torah or Haftarah portions, or leads parts of the service, and often the women put together some kind of booklet describing their collective journey.
It should be noted that, according to Jewish tradition, a girl becomes “bat mitzvah” at the age of 12 and a boy, at the age of 13, with or without a formal ceremony.
Adult Bar / Bat Mitzvah
Growing up in Argentina as a passionate Zionist and avowed secular Jew, becoming involved with a religious movement and being called to the Torah were not part of my plan. Quite the contrary—those were attitudes that were completely incompatible with my thoughts, my ideals, my aspirations, and my vision for the future.