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Sep 15, 1997 - 10:05 -

I have a question:
I never received a bat mitzvah as a child. In fact I never had any religious training at all, even though both my parents are Jewish. Now that I'm in my 20's, I'm reclaiming my tradition, and have just joined a shul. My question is, since I never had a bat mitzvah, can I go up to the bima? Can I wear a tallit (the older women of my congeregation all do)? Are there certain things I cannot participate in because I didn't have a bat mitzvah? Also, I would like to become more familiar with the traditional Shabbot songs etc... Do you know of any tapes? Thank you very much

About me: Lauren Rubin. I'm 22, just graduated from college. I live in a small town in Michigan and am activley reclaiming my Judaism.
My e-mail address:
How I found this site: Browsing the web

Thanks for your question, Lauren.  

Bat Mitzvah (literally "daughter of commandment", but better understood as "Woman of Duty") is an adult female Jew under Jewish Law. Under ordinary circumstances, the age of legal majority for women is 12.  In addition, "Bat Mitzvah" is colloquially used to refer to the public celebration of the attainment of legal majority, involving the community and family.

There is no difference between the priviledges and responsibilities of a Bat Mitzvah who celebrated when she became (halachically) responsible for the mitzvot and one who did not.

In recent times, some adults who did not celebrate at age twelve choose to make a festivity with their community at a later time, but there is no change of status actually happenning.

Nevertheless, if it marks the completion of a program of Torah study, that is always cause for celebration.

--- Jordan