Bar/Bat Mitzvah Honours
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Honours
During the service, whether it be a Shabbat or Yom Tov morning, Shabbat afternoon, Monday or Thursday morning or Rosh Chodesh, a number of men are given various honours by being called to the Bima for an Aliyah, to raise or dress the Torah, to open or close the ark, etc. Many or most of these honours are given to congregants celebrating life cycle events such as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a forthcoming marriage, the birth of naming of a child, or a yartzheit. Since Shaare Zedek is a large and active congregation, no single family can be given all of the honours at any one service. However, the family or families of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be accommodated with as many honours as possible. Your selection of honorees should be discussed with the Rabbi two months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Please do not make any commitments about granting honours before this meeting has taken place.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah-Torah Honours
During a Shabbat morning service, seven men in addition to the Bar Mitzvah are called to the Torah (given an Aliyah). At times, a couple are given a single Aliyah. At Shaare Zedek Congregation the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family or families may designate and assign up to three or these Aliyot. As a rule, a person designated for the Kohen (1st Aliyah) is a Kohen and a man designated for the Levi (2nd Aliyah) is a Levi. Usually, honorees include parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc. Close friends, etc., may also be included.
Those designated for an Aliyah should be prepared to recite the blessings in Hebrew (these prayers are available from the Bar Mitzvah tutor). Obtain from your guests receiving Aliyot their Hebrew names, i.e. their names and that of their father and mother and then complete the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony information sheet.
Shaare Zedek will supply you with a form to be completed which will require the names of all the honorees together with a card that explains what the honoree is to do and includes copies of blessings in Hebrew and in transliteration. These cards are distributed by the family to the honorees prior to the service.
Opening the Ark
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah family or families may designate two men to come to the Bima to open the Ark. The Ark is opened three times, once before the Torah reading and again after the Torah reading, and towards the end of the service for Anim Zemirot.
(Lifting the Torah Scroll)
This honour is given to a person with the ability and experience to raise the Torah in a proper manner. On days when two Torah Scrolls are used, two different men are chosen for the Hagbah. It is worthy to remember that in the event that the family does designate somebody for Hagbah, the weight of the Torah Scroll is approximately 50 pounds.
(Dressing the Torah Scroll)
This honour is designated by the congregation to a person who rolls and dresses the Torah after it has been raised. On days when two scrolls are used, two different people may be chosen for Gelilah.
Holding the Torah
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah family or families may select a person - often a child about 8 to 13 years of age to sit on the Bima and hold the Torah scroll while the Haftorah is being chanted. This must be discussed in advance with the Rabbi. On days when two Torah scrolls are used, two youngsters may be chosen.
Others whom you wish to honour may be asked to lead the congregation in prayers for the Government of Canada, and the State of Israel (Hebrew and English prayers).
Bar/bat mitzvah honours form
To submit your own Bar/Bat Mitzvah Honours Information to the Shul, please use this handy form.