How quickly they grew up: they’re blossoming right before our eyes. With clarity and sometimes surprise, we begin to see the kind of adult they are becoming.
While age automatically classifies a Jewish child as an adult for ritual purposes, we honor this sacred benchmark by calling the young adult up to Torah and celebrating this “coming of age.” This moment has been a birthright for centuries of Jewish boys. At long last, Jewish girls and nonbinary and transgender Jews are fully claiming their rightful places in the flow of Jewish life.
With awe and pride, we celebrate all their becoming, all their learning, and all their leadership in the world they step forward to shape as their own.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהו׳׳ה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam,
Shehecheyanu v’kiyemanu v’higi’anu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Source of all being, Who has given us life, sustained us and brought us to this moment.
May you know great joy, happiness and fulfillment in your life. May you walk with your people in pride, and may you understand that to be a Jew is a source of joy and meaning and an important responsibility. May you honor your parents, recognizing that they have brought you into the world in love and in hope, and may you bring them great joy. May you go from strength to strength, yet always be able to accept your own weaknesses and those of others. May you judge yourself and others with fairness and compassion, without harshness. May you have the confidence and self-esteem to more towards whatever goals you choose for yourself. May you have the wisdom and courage to change your mind if your original goals are replaced by newer and better ones. May you allow yourself to dream your dreams and soar with flight of fancy and imagination. May you always keep a precious part of yourself as “Child” even as you move into adulthood. May your ears be filled with music of every imaginable kind, and may the rhythms be of your own making. Allow yourself to march at your own pace. May you experience those inevitable moments of sadness and pain, which are also a part of life, in a way which will give these moments meaning and add value to your life. May you live in a world blessed with peace and harmony and may your future be as bright and as hopeful as the world’s first rainbow.
Rabbi Leila Gal Berner
May you live to see a world that you create.
May your future shine in ways we can scarcely imagine.
May your hope span the generations.
May your heart learn understanding.
May you speak words of wisdom and sing songs of joy.
May your vision be clear before you.
May your eyes shine with the light of wise teachings,
May your face glow with the light of heaven,
May you run to discover the radiance of the Holy Blessed One.
adapted from Talmud, Berakhot 17a
They said pink or blue as if that were the end of the mystery. I know now it was just the beginning. Blessed is God, whose creativity pushes the limits of human understanding, and blessed are you who bravely shows the richness of that varied palette. May the Eternal watch over and protect you. May we all be blessed with the courage to confront our own fear and prejudice, and in doing so, truly witness creation.
Ina Turpin Fried
We wish for you to be a person of character
Strong, but not tough
Gentle, but not weak.
We wish for you to be righteous, but not self-righteous
Honest, but not unforgiving.
Wherever you journey,
May your steps be firm and may you walk in just paths and not be afraid. Whenever you speak,
May your words be words of wisdom and friendship.
May your hands build and your heart preserve what is good and beautiful in the world.
May the voices of the generations of our people move through you
And may the God of our ancestors be your God as well.
May you know that there is a people, a rich heritage, to which you belong. And from that sacred place, you are connected to all who dwell on earth.
May the stories of our people be upon your heart,
And may the grace of the Torah rhythm dance in your soul.
This is the day that God has made — let us exult and rejoice on it.
Bar or Bat Mitzvah: Hey, What About a Both Mitzvah? (New York Times)