Alternatives to candle lighting for a bas mitzvah ceremony

Written by bryan cohen
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Alternatives to candle lighting for a bas mitzvah ceremony
A bat mitzvah candle lighting can be traditional, or it can be a variation. (ezra- jewish youth movement image by popi from Fotolia.com)

A bat mitzvah, more commonly known as a bat mitzvah, is a coming-of-age ceremony and celebration given to girls when they reach the age of 13 in the Jewish faith. The bat mitzvah is typically followed by a party. The candle-lighting ceremony, when relatives of the celebrant light candles, is a party tradition. A young woman celebrating her bat mitzvah may choose a traditional candle lighting or a variation.

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Cup of Life Ceremony

Rabbi Anchelle Perl of Mineola, who hosts radio and television programs that focus on Jewish traditions, has created a cup of life ceremony. Each of 14 cups of grape juice symbolise a quality that's important for a good life. These qualities can include success, happiness, humility, patience, love, wisdom, good health or anything else the young woman considers important. After saying the kiddush prayer, she takes a sip from each of the cups.

Wish Ceremony

A wish ceremony gets everyone involved. Those at each table collaborate on a wish to make for the young woman. Then they write it down. Friends seated at one table may have a silly wish, while older relatives may have a more serious wish. The important element of this ceremony is that everyone has made a contribution.

Candles for All

Another way to involve all the guests in the ceremony is to provide everybody with his own candle. Children and young adults can use a flameless battery-operated candle to avoid a fire hazard. Flashlights can also be used. At the designated time, the host can tell everybody to light his candle. This ceremony retains the tradition of the candles but involves all of the guests instead of just a few.

Mitzvah Pledge

Instead of 14 candles, the celebrant can pledge to do 14 good deeds, in the next year or throughout her life. This is a positive and thoughtful way to start the celebration. The mitzvah pledge can be done in conjunction with the candle lighting or any other ceremonial rite in the celebration.

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