What It All Means
In the simplest terms, becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means becoming an adult. That’s right, your little bundle of joy is now – according to Jewish law – a mature person capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of an adult, at least from a religious perspective (we’re not talking balancing the checkbook or making them get a job – although that’s totally up to you).
Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah means a child is now responsible for fulfilling Mitzvot, or good deeds, and accounting for his or her sins. Boys will usually celebrate their Bar Mitzvah after they turn age 13. Young ladies will celebrate their Bat Mitzvah after their 12th birthday. He or she is now called upon to follow the teaching of the Torah, to give to tzedakah (charity), and to fast on Yom Kippur. And, as a parent, you are now allowed to sit back and relax, purportedly free of religious responsibility for your child. Phew! But first comes the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, the rite of passage where your child’s transformation into religious adulthood takes place in front of a live audience.