Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
Foreword by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Introduction by Rabbi William H. Lebeau
PMA Best Religion Book of the Year!
The inspiring guide to spiritual celebration used in hundreds of congregations—Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist—revised and expanded!
“Parents and their children acutely feel the social pressures that surround bar and bat mitzvah. But they want to feel the spiritual promise of the event, the pull of the divine, and the knowledge that they are participating in an event that has meaning both in the ancient past and in the very immediate present. They want to know that the steep incline before them is their family’s own version of Sinai, the summit where, in every generation, Jews meet God, individually and as a people. They want to know that bar and bat mitzvah can be a path to that summit. And they want to know how to get there. . . . This book can be their guide.”
—from “Why This Book Was Born”
Helps people find core spiritual values in American Jewry’s most misunderstood ceremony—bar and bat mitzvah. In a joining of explanation, instruction and inspiration, Rabbi Salkin helps both parent and child truly be there when the moment of Sinai is recreated in their lives.
Rabbi Salkin asks and answers questions that make parents and children more comfortable with the event and able to experience it more joyfully. How did bar and bat mitzvah originate? What is the lasting significance of the event? What are the ethics of celebration? What specific things can you do to reclaim the spiritual meaning of the event? How to further develop spirituality? What spiritual values can parents and young people build together?
To help guide friends and family who are not Jewish through this important Jewish life cycle event, Rabbi Salkin provides a brief, welcoming overview: “What Non-Jews Should Know About the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service.”
“An invitation to all families to link the sacred act of ‘going up’ to the Torah with the sacred process of ‘growing up’ in faithfulness to God and community.”
—Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist), Beth-El Zedeck Congregation, Indianapolis
“I hope every family planning a bar or bat mitzvah celebration reads Rabbi
—Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (Conservative), author of
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Shows the way to restore spirituality and depth to every young Jew’s most important rite of passage.”
—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (Orthodox), author of Jewish Literacy
“In a gentle style.… Shares both practical and spiritual suggestions for bringing God and significance back to each stage of the bar or bat mitzvah.”
—American Library Association’s Booklist
“Raises the questions that most need to be asked at every bar and bat mitzvah.”
—Rabbi Laura Geller (Reform)
“A gem from front to back…. A book that should be required reading for all parents planning a bar or bat mitzvah.”
—Jewish Family and Life
Rabbi William H. Lebeau is vice chancellor and chairman of the Department of Professional Skills and dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He was a congregational rabbi for nearly twenty-five years.