Cup of Life Ceremony

An alternative to the candle-lighting ceremony for bat-mitzvah and bar-mitzvah celebrants, created by Rabbi Anchelle Perl, involves 14 small cups of grape juice or wine (13 for each year plus one for good luck). One by one, they are poured by each honoree into a large brandy snifter. At the end, the celebrant recites kiddush and drinks from the snifter.

The suggested order of guests invited to participate in this ceremony begins with grandparents, followed by aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and siblings. Those who want may say a few words while pouring their contribution into the Cup of Life. The honor of the 14th cup goes to the parents.

Each cup represents an ingredient in the “recipe” for a good life:

  1. Cup of Good Health
  2. Cup of Wisdom
  3. Cup of Faith
  4. Cup of Compassion
  5. Cup of Good Humor
  6. Cup of Dedication
  7. Cup of Success
  8. Cup of Prosperity
  9. Cup of Generosity
  10. Cup of Friendship
  11. Cup of Happiness
  12. Cup of Love.

Note: These are merely examples and can be altered per individual interests.


  1. Bridge table or similar
  2. 14 small snifters, cordial or wine glasses, filled with red wine or grape juice
  3. Large snifter or other decorative goblet with the capacity to contain the wine or juice from the 14 small glasses.
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