Bar Mitzvah Boy Sam wearing Mountain Landscape Tallit and matching kippah
Are you preparing for a special Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah? I can relate! My own daughter is about to become a Bat Mitzvah, so I can completely relate to what a meaningful and emotional moment this is both for the child and the parents.
In Jewish tradition a child becomes a part of the adult Jewish community with a coming-of-age ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah for a boy and a Bat Mitzvah for a girl. In a modern, egalitarian synagogue the ceremony usually involves the child leading a Shabbat service and reading from the Torah. Typically Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are celebrated when the child is thirteen, sometimes twelve for a girl. A traditional gift for a boy or girl on the occasion of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a tallit, also called a tallis, is a Jewish ritual prayer shawl. The tradition of the prayer shawl stems from the religious requirement to wear tsitsit (fringes) at the corners of your garment to have a constant physical reminder of the commandments. For hundreds of years tallits (tallitot in plural Hebrew) were only worn by men, but today the tradition has been embraced by the Conservative and Reform movements and the tallit is worn by many women and girls, especially on the occasion of their Bnei Mitzvot (Bar and Bat Mitzvahs). While a traditional tallit was a simple white shawl with black stripes, today the tradition has evolved with the times and you can find many colorful and artistic tallit designs to highlight the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah child’s unique style and personality.
A bar or bat mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ceremony. It symbolizes that the child is now an “adult”, meaning they are responsible for their actions and for keeping the commandments. Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a new status in the Jewish community. Bar means “son” and Bat means “daughter”. As such, the child is becoming a son or daughter of the commandments.
Preparing for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is a really big deal. The kiddo usually spends about at least a year learning to read Hebrew, learning how to lead a service, preparing a d’var Torah (an interpretation of their Torah portion), and usually working on a meaningful mitzvah project too. The day itself is a culmination of all that hard work and a celebration of the child’s coming of age and formal welcome into the adult Jewish community. What more meaningful way to commemorate this important moment than with a special tallit for the Bar Mitzvah boy or Bat Mitzvah girl to wear long into adulthood?
Lina wearing Whimsical Jerusalem Tallit for her Bat Mitzvah
My collection of Wearable Art tallits are appropriate for boys or girls and even come in a petite size option. With a choice of colorful, vibrant designs, there is sure to be one your child will love. Every tallit comes with a set of kosher wool tsitsit, which I can tie for you or you can tie yourselves as a meaningful family activity. Ever tallit comes with a matching bag and you can also choose to include a matching kippah. My wearable art tallitot even have matching Bar or Bat Mitzvah certificates you can choose to add on!
Bar Mitzvah Boy Sam wearing Mountain Tallit and matching kippah
Bat Mitzvah Girl Alma wearing Retro Flowers Tallit with matching kippah
A Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah tallit is usually gifted by a special family member, often a parent or grandparent. The tallit can then be worn long into adulthood and passed down to future generations as a meaningful heirloom. It can also be used in future important Jewish life cycle events. Some people stand under it as their chuppah during their wedding, or wrap it around themselves and their spouse during the ceremony. Some people even use a tallit as a blanket or cover for a baby during a Bris or baby naming ceremony.
Also see these related articles: