American Bar Mitzvahs to Get a Makeover

Claudia Kunin/Corbis,Claudia Kunin

Jewish leaders are annoyed that many Americans are treating Bar and Bat Mitzvahs as a graduation ceremony rather than a rite of passage into Jewish life and have decided to do something about it. Thirteen Reform congregations across the nation have volunteered to decide whether to teach kids Hebrew, whether to delay the ceremony until children are older, and even whether they should be required to read from the Torah. Instead of concentrating on party themes and appeasing guests, professor of Jewish education Isa Aron said that "maybe it shouldn’t be such a performance. It should be about becoming part of the community."