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Old 09-29-2015, 10:44 AM
 
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Hey, sorry for topping an old thread, but my question is on-topic.

I've been to two bat mitvahs in my life (I'm not Jewish), both time attending services at temple, and the party afterward. In both cases we knew the families pretty well.

Since we're not of the faith, and don't get many such invites, I assumed this was standard...temple and the after party are sort of the whole event you're invited to. I hope that makes sense.

We recently got invited to a bat mitzah from someone we don't really know. My wife has met the mom a couple times and I've met neither parent nor the girl. Our two daughters have met the girl once. And we were invited only to the party.

My questions is...is this common? Is this akin to the courtesy invite some people get for weddings?
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Old 09-29-2015, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Long Island
1,711 posts, read 1,385,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elhelmete View Post
Hey, sorry for topping an old thread, but my question is on-topic.

I've been to two bat mitvahs in my life (I'm not Jewish), both time attending services at temple, and the party afterward. In both cases we knew the families pretty well.

Since we're not of the faith, and don't get many such invites, I assumed this was standard...temple and the after party are sort of the whole event you're invited to. I hope that makes sense.

We recently got invited to a bat mitzah from someone we don't really know. My wife has met the mom a couple times and I've met neither parent nor the girl. Our two daughters have met the girl once. And we were invited only to the party.

My questions is...is this common? Is this akin to the courtesy invite some people get for weddings?
It depends.

A lot of people invite family and close friends to the ritual service, but the party is open to a much larger group. Think of it as kinda being in the neighborhood of a "sweet sixteen" party.

A lot of us go with a much lower key. My daughter's bat mitzvah was a month ago, and we did a simple luncheon after the service. We invited our community, family and friends, and she invited kids from school.
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Old 09-29-2015, 05:58 PM
 
Location: NJ
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It depends on the people and the event. Some people throw a party more like an open house, inviting a broader range of people. Some try to include people who might not otherwise be invited. There is no established set of rules.
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:45 PM
 
Location: No
467 posts, read 251,740 times
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Originally Posted by rosends View Post
It depends on the people and the event. Some people throw a party more like an open house, inviting a broader range of people. Some try to include people who might not otherwise be invited. There is no established set of rules.
So true. I have also seen situations where the whole shul attends the (presumably Saturday morning) service, and perhaps a modest celebration after the service, and it's the actual friends, perhaps including some who didn't even come to the service, who get invited to the later celebration. As rosends indicates, there are no rules.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:21 PM
 
Location: US
27,956 posts, read 15,043,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB from NC View Post
It depends.

A lot of people invite family and close friends to the ritual service, but the party is open to a much larger group. Think of it as kinda being in the neighborhood of a "sweet sixteen" party.

A lot of us go with a much lower key. My daughter's bat mitzvah was a month ago, and we did a simple luncheon after the service. We invited our community, family and friends, and she invited kids from school.
Did you covert to Judaism before you children were born?...
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY (Crown Heights/Weeksville)
993 posts, read 1,027,031 times
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for elhelmete -- recent thread bump -- who wondered about being invited to a party, but not the service, of a Bat Mitzvah...

Some might depend on which movement or branch of Judaism -- Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist -- as to what's going on with the Bat Mitzvah religious ceremony, that it might be more or less interesting to nonJewish friends.

I was raised Reform, so as a 13-year-old BatMitzvah my training and work at the bima(altar) was identical to my brothers. I read and chanted Torah and Haftarah in Hebrew, wrote and delivered a d'rash/sermonette before the Rabbi's longer sermon, and I led the congregation in many Hebrew and English prayers. I was on my feet for 2 hours. The Rabbi who trained me sat down until the Kaddish and Aleinu, late in the service, which he led. (Party afterwards)

My cousins and nieces are in every movement of Judaism, so attending theirs over many years in the U.S.and Canada, I've seen a wide range of services for the Bat Mitzvah:

- At one Orthodox synagogue, the women gathered separately so the 12-year-old Bat Mitzvah could read and discuss Torah among the women only. Men prayed the service and read Torah in a separate room. (One Party afterwards, with the dancing separated by gender)

- At another Orthodox synagogue, everyone went into the sanctuary outside the times of the regular services, and sat down together, auditorium-style. The Rabbi called the 3 moms to the altar so they could bless their 3 daughters (age 12) together in a spoken chorus, with words prompted by the Rabbi. That was the Bat Mitzvah ceremony there. (3 Parties afterwards in 3 rooms).

- At another Orthodox synagogue, the Rabbi looked up from a 3-hour service, called the Bat Mitvah girl by name to rise from her seat in the back of the room. Rabbi spoke a short blessing to her and her family. That was the Bat Mitzvah ceremony there. (Party afterwards)

- At a Conservative synagogue, the Bat Mitzvah blessed and read Haftarah (a section from Prophets or Writings) in Hebrew, then delivered a scholarly sermonette in English about the Torah and Haftarah portions. A male read the Torah portion. (Party afterwards).

- a Conservative-Egalitarian service, with the Bat Mitzvah did more on the bimah (altar) because that was the custom of her congregation. (Party afterwards).

- a Reconstructionist service (origin of the Bat Mitzvah for girls), she led parts of the service and did all the Torah and Haftarah readings, divided up with her family. (Party afterwards).

- my secular Israeli nieces who never even went inside a synagogue that day, but had a gymnastics party in their backyard at age 12 and called it "Bat Mitzvah." Their Dad was offered a Torah-blessing honor at an Orthodox synagogue that week. The family only attended that prayer service but has no deep relationship to the synagogue (Backyard Party w/ gymnastics = the Bat Mitzvah).

ALL of these synagogue ceremonies have meaning, to each family...but perhaps not all are greatly interesting to observe. I know that some nonJewish families are fascinated to see any of it, while others consider it a chore to sit through hours of a service to see the girl for 10 minutes.

Well, you see the common thread above ("party.."). But depending on whether the girl is doing ceremonial things for 10 minutes or 2 hours could determine whether parents imagine it'd be of interest to others to go to the service.

Perhaps that helps shed light on OP's past and current experiences being invited to B'not Mitvah (that's the female plural grammatic form).

Others on this site may tell you that Bat Mitzvah is an unnecessary or invented ceremony for girls. I disagree, but that's okay. The Reconstructionist leader performed the first Bat Mitzvah 100 years ago: Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan asked other rabbis to tell him where in Jewish law it says he *couldn't* do this for his daughter.. and they could not..so he did. Since then, the other movements have each found ways to acknowledge or encourage this transition to adult maturity for girls. The adaptations make for a wide range of services, though, and not every family thinks it helpful to ask others to sit through those services. I think they may underestimate the curiosity of their nonJewish friends there.

Last edited by BrightRabbit; 10-02-2015 at 12:20 PM..
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