One Way We Put Mitzvah in Colton’s Bar Mitzvah

-submitted by Susan Finn

Bar Mitzvah literally means “Son of the Commandment” and signifies the beginning of Jewish adulthood. “Tikkun olam, repair of the world, is now the buzzword circulating through bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. Mitzvah, after all, refers to our obligations toward God and toward other human beings.
Colton’s bar mitzvah was to be the last in our family of 6. My husband, Mitch, had his bar mitzvah service at the traditional age of thirteen in 1973. My daughters also all had their b’nai mitzvah at the traditional age of thirteen. I studied for bat mitzvah as an adult and shared a service with 4 amazing women in 2007.

Believing that there is something special about becoming a bar/bat mitzvah–something bigger than the party afterward–students across the country are taking on socially responsible community projects, such as collecting clothing or canned foods, giving money to charities, or planting trees in Israel.” (* borrowed from www.myjewishlearning.com)

Our own family has had a tradition of forgoing flower arrangements for the bimah (pulpit) and for the centerpieces. We have, instead, created arrangements of items to be donated to help local non-profit organizations support the programs that they support. My daughters did a great job of arranging a large basket of school supplies to grace our bimah. With some ribbon and small buckets, they created beautiful centerpieces for the party tables using books, rulers, scissors, and other items to be donated to School on Wheels of Massachusetts. The description of SOWMA’s mission and contact info were included in the program we printed for the service. SOWMA brochures were on all the tables at the party.

I would encourage anyone who is in the process of planning an event to weave in an element of tikkun olam.