Bar Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs

When it comes to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs DJ Craig and Company Disc Jockeys brings you the best in entertainment services. Our professional staff will work closely with you to plan every detail. At the event we will provide our Most Experienced DJ’s for the ultimate in interactive entertainment. We have performed at hundreds of successful Bar/Bat Mitzvahs over the last 25 years.

Great Mitzvahs, unlike other special events, involve hours of planning for each hour of performance time. At DJ Craig and Company Disc Jockeys, our commitment to advance planning is unparalleled in the industry. Our staff irons-out the details, the music, techniques and systems required to achieve the customer's vision. If it sounds like we take this DJ thing pretty seriously, it's because we do. Each Mitzvah is important to us, because it's also important to a special young person...And you only get to do it once!

DJ Craig and Company Disc Jockeys created this page to inform you of what to expect when planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. We have provided forms section located on the left for the planning process (Just move your mouse to the Form and click then copy all Mitzvah Forms).

What It All Means

In the simplest terms, becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means becoming an adult. That’s right, your little bundle of joy is now - according to Jewish law - a mature person capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of an adult, at least from a religious perspective (we’re not talking balancing the checkbook or making them get a job – although that’s totally up to you).

Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means a child is now responsible for fulfilling Mitzvot, or good deeds, and accounting for his or her sins. Boys will usually celebrate their Bar Mitzvah after they turn age 13. Young ladies will celebrate their Bat Mitzvah after their 12th birthday. He or she is now called upon to follow the teaching of the Torah, to give to tzedakah (charity), and to fast on Yom Kippur. And, as a parent, you are now allowed to sit back and relax, purportedly free of religious responsibility for your child. Phew! But first comes the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, the rite of passage where your child’s transformation into religious adulthood takes place in front of a live audience.

Choosing the Date

You’ll usually know the date of your child’s Bar/Bat mitzvah 3-4 years in advance. We can accommodate you with a Disc Jockey up to 8-24 months prior to your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, however, the sooner the better. Some Synagogues will allow you to the change the date and are quite flexible. Others are not.
For example (and this is less about sect of Judaism than each individual congregation) some Synagogues will allow you to schedule your Bar/Bat Mitzvah on any day that the Torah is read. Others have even greater restrictions, allowing Bar/Bat Mitzvahs only on certain days, especially for girls (some Orthodox or Conservative Synagogues only allow girls to have their ceremony on Friday nights or Sundays).

As for the time of day your ceremony takes place, again, this is also something you will need to discuss with your Rabbi/Synagogue. We highly suggest you investigate what options are available to you early on in the planning process. The more you know the more control you will have over your own event!

Whom Do We Honor?

The question of who will participate in your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be a challenging and sensitive one. You may notice that everyone from your child, to your sister, to your great aunt Gertrude has an opinion on the subject. More often than not, some people simply assume they will be included, and then feel insulted when they are not. As with most things in life, it can be difficult to make everyone happy. Whether assigning an Aliyah or an honor, asking someone to be part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service says something about your relationship with that person, and should not be a hasty decision. Here is some information and advice for making the most of the supporting characters in your B’nei mitzvah ceremony.

What is an Aliyah?

Aliyah (pronounced al-lee-YA and with the plural ‘aliyot) means literally ‘to ascend.’ In the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, it means assigning someone to go up to the bimah (raised platform) to recite the blessings before and after a section of the Torah is read. An Honor is a non-speaking role. For example, you may assign someone to open and close the ark, or to lift/dress the Torah after it is removed from the ark. The number of Aliyot and Honors you are allowed depends upon the Synagogue as well as the day of the week/time of day of the service. For example, a Saturday morning service generally allows for seven Aliyot (although the seventh usually goes to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah). On other days, that number will usually be less.

Role of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah

The degree of participation by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be determined by the Synagogue. For example, at one Synagogue, your son or daughter might lead the congregation in prayer, recite special prayers chosen for the event, recite blessings after a portion of the Torah is read, chant the Haftarah (reading) and deliver a d’var Torah (speech), or “learned commentary” on the portion of the Torah that has just been read. At another synagogue, he or she might only be responsible for the Maftir, the final section of that weeks reading.

The Role of the Parent

When it comes to parental participation, you are once again at the mercy of the Synagogue. Some congregations will let you play an integral role in the ceremony; others may not. We strongly suggest, however, that if you are allowed to participate in some way, by all means, do so! Some ways to participate include accepting an Aliyah or an honor (see related article), reciting a special prayer, or reciting a speech to your child. A well-written, well-timed (in other words, don’t go on too long) tribute to your son or daughter can add great meaning to your event. You should also play a role in the preparation. If you can, attend services and rehearsals, and/or study together. Be open to questions and discussion that might arise about the meaning behind the ceremony. If you’re feeling a bit rusty on the elements of the Bar/Bat mitzvah, see if your Synagogue offers a prep course for parents – many do.

Other Roles

Depending on the Synagogue, you may be allowed to involve other members of the mispocha (family) as well as friends by assigning them each an Aliyah or honor. Those who are assigned an aliyah are actually called up to the Torah to recite a blessing during the service. An honor is similar, but it is a non-speaking role. For more information on assigning Aliyot and honors, see our related article on the subject.

Choosing People to Participate In the Service

The decision-making process is far from an exact science. You may want to attend other Bar/Bat mitzvahs and see how other families have tackled the challenges. Some people choose only family members; others have a mix of family and friends. A good way to think about it is to ask yourself: who are the most important people in my child’s life? That doesn’t mean you leave it all up to your child – unless you want to have his/her six best friends as the only participants!

Be Prepared For Anything

Make sure your chosen Aliyot people are up for the task. Everyone will certainly appreciate receiving what is going to be said ahead of time, in Hebrew, English (if it’s acceptable) and transliteration. Practice makes perfect, right? Also, be prepared to have one or two back up Aliyot people on hand. That way, if anyone “calls in sick” or can’t perform their assigned honor, you have someone ready and waiting in the wings. You have sent out the invitations and everyone is excited to come to the big day. Little by little, friends and family start to give you hints that they expect to be part of the Temple service.
More people may want to participate then there are things to do. Don’t worry we have made a list of suggestions on how to choose the “A" list for Temple participation.

Who Can Participate?

There are many people in your extended family that you may want to participate in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. We recommend that you find out about your Temple’s overall policy regarding Aliyot and Honors. Beyond the numbers, you’ll also want to know if there are any restrictions on who can participate (e.g. only Jews, only children who have reached Bar/Bat mitzvah age). In many Orthodox Congregations, women are not allowed to contribute. At some Synagogues, there may be differences in the policy towards Aliyot vs. Honors. For example, a non-Jew may be allowed to perform an honor, but not an Aliyah.

Hebrew or English?

You’ll also want to ask if the blessings can be recited in English. If not, be sure to gauge your rabbi or cantor’s attitude towards mishaps. If there is a low-tolerance for errors, you may want to consider reassigning someone with rusty Hebrew to participate in another celebration such as the Candle Lighting Ceremony, during the reception. On the other end of the spectrum, you may have a Rabbi who goes by ‘the more the merrier’ (and thus more meaningful) policy, in which case be prepared to call the whole mispocha up if you so desire!

Dress Code

Ask about any dress restrictions. Men may be required to wear a tallit (prayer shawl) and/or a kippah (yarmulke) when going up to the bimah. A woman may need to cover her shoulders.

Delaware Disc-Jockeys Suggestions

Don’t give in to pressure. As we mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to make everybody happy. Certainly listen to people’s opinions, but don’t be dictated by them. If there are many relatives to choose from, group them together and ask one person to represent the group as a whole. Some people may still be insulted, but it is a practical solution. Family members such as grandparents are always important as they provide a sense of continuity of the generations.
Consider asking your child’s best friend, especially if he/she is already of Bar/Bat mitzvah age.Consider yourself!

Ask people if they want to participate first. Some people may not want to read in front of a live audience, which means you could limit them to a non-speaking role, or eliminate them altogether. In the end, this process helps you remove those individuals who would rather not participate, and include those for whom this would be a great honor – which is the whole point anyway!
You’ve probably already picked up on the point that ceremonies differ according to Synagogues – but just in case, let us remind you. We feel it is important to ask as many questions beforehand and be as involved as possible so you’ll know exactly what to expect the day of the service!
Do we have any choice in the date, day of the week, or time of the ceremony?
What actually happens at the service?
What time will the service start, and how long will it go?
What role can we as parents play in it?
How many aliyot and honors can we assign that day?
What particular customs does this synagogue integrate into the ceremony?
What is your overall philosophy in regards to the Bar/Bat mitzvah ceremony?
How will my son/daughter need to prepare? (e.g. how many years of Hebrew school and other study?)
Does he/she have to do anything else to prepare (some synagogues have other special requirements such as community service or attendance at a certain number of worship services)
Do you have any ‘crash courses’ for parents on the B’nei mitzvah?
Is there any sort of Bar/Bat mitzvah fee?
Will we share our service with another child? If so, how will this be coordinated?
May we take photographs and/or videotape the service?
Jewish explanation of words that you will begin to hear once you start the Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning.