Definition of bar mitzvah in US English:

bar mitzvah


  • 1The religious initiation ceremony of a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and eligible to take part in public worship.

    • ‘Doctors gave him little chance of making it to his bar mitzvah.’
    • ‘A bat mitzvah, the female equivalent of a bar mitzvah, is a Jewish coming of age ceremony for girls aged 12 and over.’
    • ‘When I look at the family portraits that were the inevitable last course at every wedding and bar mitzvah, she sparkled.’
    • ‘Jesus returns to the temple at an age that corresponds closely to that required for the rite of passage for Jewish boys known as the bar mitzvah.’
    • ‘But remember your bar mitzvah speech where you said you wanted to follow in the steps of Jewish thinkers like Moses Maimonides and Karl Marx?’
    • ‘My husband and I recently returned from Israel, where we spent a Shabbat celebrating the bar mitzvah of our cousin.’
    • ‘They're not brothers, they're not Jewish, and they've never even been to a bar mitzvah, but don't hold it against the Bar Mitzvah Brothers.’
    • ‘As I learned the rituals for the bar mitzvah, my father, a cantor, began to create the service…’
    • ‘In fact, in his case, it happened in full sight of a large crowd on the stage of a synagogue during his bar mitzvah ceremony.’
    • ‘It was not in Israel, for one, as my bar mitzvah was, at the Wailing Wall in 1968.’
    • ‘Witness the recent flap over the Jewish twelve-year-old, on the verge of his bar mitzvah, who was more or less tricked into a Christian baptism by the local Baptist church.’
    • ‘I believe today, when people hear ‘YMCA’ every weekend at a bar mitzvah or a wedding or when people hear ‘Macho Man’ when they're working out at the gym, they smile.’
    • ‘Her father, Bertie Camberg, was Jewish and Muriel happily gave Robin #50 towards his bar mitzvah in 1951.’
    • ‘The only connection we have is that your bar mitzvah was the day I was born… but other than that, I don't think it's going to work.’
    • ‘My nephew and I will not share the same holidays and he will not have a bar mitzvah for me to attend.’
    • ‘Boys aren't allowed to wear tefillin until after their bar mitzvah; women can choose to wear them but rarely do.’
    • ‘We have the same thing for various other institutions like a bar mitzvah, which celebrates Jewish adulthood at 13, but for the state it is 18.’
    • ‘The Jewish bar mitzvah, for example, celebrates a boy's entry into adolescence, and most of tribal Africa holds puberty rituals which may include dance, music, or seclusion.’
    • ‘Incidentally we were totally secular; I never went inside a synagogue until a cousin had a bar mitzvah at thirteen.’
    1. 1.1 A boy undergoing the bar mitzvah ceremony.
      • ‘The Great Depression happened as he reached the bar mitzvah age of 14.’
      • ‘Our Bar Mitzvah reads: Behold, God is my unfailing help; I will trust in Him and will not be afraid.’
      • ‘This is done so that the young Bar Mitzvah wouldn't feel embarrassed if he couldn't proceed with the sermon due to stage fright.’
      • ‘The Bar Mitzvah reads a portion of the Torah section and all of what is known as the Half Torah.’
      • ‘At this point a boy is said to become Bar Mitzvah.’
      • ‘The bar mitzvah reads his Torah or Haftorah passage in shul and can then be counted as a man for purposes of a minyan.’
      • ‘What we seek for our young Bar Mitzvah boy is a new paradigm of Jewish masculinity.’
      • ‘Usually, the Bar Mitzvah reads the regular portion for that week.’
      • ‘Traditionally, the father of the Bar Mitzvah give thanks to God that they no longer have to carry the burden of their child's sins.’
      • ‘Precisely what the Bar Mitzvah should lead during the service varies from one congregation to another, and is not fixed by Jewish law.’
      • ‘I believe that the greatest gift I think I can give the young Bar Mitzvah is not a Razor scooter or a skateboard, but perhaps Judaica on CD-Rom or a leather bound anthology about the history of the modern state of Israel.’
      • ‘Unlike most young bar mitzvah boys, Citrin has led a full life.’
      • ‘The Shamash does not invite the community to this feast, instead an hour before Mincha the young Bar-Mitzvah boy himself invites those who are to participate.’
      • ‘In addition, on the Shabbat following the bar mitzvah boy's thirteenth birthday, he is called to the Torah during morning services at the synagogue to recite the blessing on the Haftorah.’


[with object]usually be bar mitzvahed
  • Celebrate the bar mitzvah of (a boy).

    • ‘Shortly after Israel was bar mitzvahed, Moses died, and the following year young Izzy left home and school to try his luck at street singing.’
    • ‘The play centers on grandfather Gabe, a concentration-camp survivor and sculptor, working on a bust of Muhammad Ali, when his grandson, Michael, soon to be bar mitzvahed, drops in.’
    • ‘I remember my friends getting Bar Mitzvahed though.’
    • ‘How does a boy become 'bar mitzvahed' and a girl 'bat mitzvahed?'’
    • ‘"In 1954, when I was bar mitzvahed, I didn't get presents," explains Evanstonian John Lavine, dean of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.’
    • ‘Only time I remember was the ‘Today’ show bar mitzvahed me after 50 years.’
    • ‘I spoke to a rabbi last year about finding out what steps needed to be taken so he could be bar mitzvahed and was told that he would have to study Hebrew.’
    • ‘Adam Streicher and Ben had been friends since their Hebrew school days, bar mitzvahed weeks apart.’
    • ‘I was bar-mitzvahed in a synagogue in Rockville Centre, Long Island suburb.’
    • ‘But I never lit Chanukah candles, and I wasn't bar mitzvahed.’
    • ‘Seeing my son Bar Mitzvahed atop Masada is an experience I will never forget.’
    • ‘Though people talk about being "bar-mitzvahed" there is NO ritual that must be performed to be considered a Jewish adult in the eyes of Jewish law.’
    • ‘In Jerusalem, a 13-year-old boy is bar mitzvahed—the ceremony, or right of passage, that allows young Jewish males to participate fully in their religion.’
    • ‘"For a Jewish boy who grew up on Long Island," he said, "to have dinner with Steven Spielberg is like being bar mitzvahed twice."’


From Hebrew bar miṣwāh, literally ‘son of the commandment’.


bar mitzvah

/ˌbär ˈmitsvə//ˌbɑr ˈmɪtsvə/