This is a 1968 announcement about a symposium on the proper way to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah. The symposium was held at Beit Yad Labanim with the participation of various professionals: psychologists, educators, and intellectuals. The evening was open to the general public, and a nominal entrance fee was requested to cover expenses. The event was sponsored by the Youth Culture and Sports Division of the Tel Aviv Municipality and an organization called Ahayam, the Association for the Advancement of Authentic Hebrew Life.
Until the modern era, the milestone of a Jewish boy reaching the age of bar mitzvah was celebrated in traditional ways: laying tefillin, being called up to the Torah for an aliyah, giving a sermon to the congregation about the Torah reading. This usually took place in synagogue among family and close friends. This announcement reflects changes in the nature of the event and the desire of many communities to adapt the coming-of-age tradition for both boys and girls to Israel’s modern, secular society. Arieh Ben-Gurion (a nephew of David Ben-Gurion), who was participating in this event, was especially involved in this initiative. He was an advocate of renewing Jewish tradition within secular life and called upon Israel’s secular society to deepen its knowledge and engagement with Judaism. To this end, Ben-Gurion established the Chagim Center of Beit HaShita with the aim of developing the secular Jewish culture of the kibbutzim and offering practical tools to educators.
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Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Bar mitzvah for boys or bat mitzvah for girls refers to the ages, 12 and 13 respectively, at which a Jew becomes obligated to fulfil the Jewish commandments and is allowed to participate fully in Jewish ritual and law. Since the Middle Ages, Jewish families have celebrated this milestone with a variety of different ceremonies and celebrations that have developed over time and place. In the past only boys celebrated their coming of age, but these days, in most communities, girls also celebrate. Bar and bat mitzvahs may consist of the celebrant being called up to the Torah for an aliyah, reading the weekly Torah portion or Haftarah, giving a sermon about the Torah reading, or leading the prayer service. Parties are probably the most common way of celebrating this milestone with family and friends. In recent years, participating in a social action project has also become quite common in some communities. In the past only boys celebrated their coming of age, though in recent years almost all communities celebrate also the girls' Bat Mitzvah.