A Bar Mitzvah
through the Jewish World
Why is a Bar/Bat-Mitzvah Such a
Big Deal? By Aliza Lavie
Mitzvah ceremony video
Susanna from milano
whom the Jewish Woman's Prayer Book
translated for her.
Bar/Bat Mitzva ceremony
of IDF and security forces orphans with Chief of General
Staff, Gaby Ashkenazi and The Chief Rabbi, Rafi Peretz.
New by Aliza Lavie
Author of the best-selling “A Jewish Woman’s Prayer
THE JEWISH BACKPACK
A BAR-MITZVAH ODYSSEY THROUGH THE JEWISH WORLD
(To be published in Hebrew and in English)
Magid Books – Koren Publishers
* * * *
(262 pages, 98 NIS)
Why did Kobi Oz
celebrate his bar-mitzvah at the age of 40?
What angered Yossi Sarid at his bar-mitzvah?
Why weren’t candies thrown at the bar-mitzvah of
What embarrassed Uri Orbach?
What did 13-year-old Yigal Alon receive from his father,
and with what conditions?
What is emphasized at bar-mitzvahs held on kibbutzim?
Why did Yemenites not celebrate bar-mitzvahs?
In which community is a haircut part of the bar-mitzvah
In which community does the bar-mitzvah boy ask his
year is an odyssey for every child. It presents a unique
opportunity to delve into family history, the special
customs and prayers of the community of the family’s
origin, and the meaning of the stage traditionally
regarded as the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Recent years have
witnessed a real renaissance in the celebration of
bar/bat-mitzvah ceremonies, spurred by the desire to
infuse the occasion with new significance. Alongside the
usual elements, a range of diverse and creative personal
innovations now highlight special content within the
family or community framework. The absence of fixed
prayers for the occasion in the standard prayer-book,
along with a sense of longing, have opened a new
dimension of personal expression.
This book arose from
Aliza Lavie’s own family research leading up to her
son’s bar-mitzvah: “As our son’s bar-mitzvah year
approached, we wanted to know more. Why specifically at
age 13? How was this celebrated in the past? What is the
source of the custom of throwing candies at the
bar-mitzvah boy? What is the point of being called up to
the Torah? How, and why, does the bar-mitzvah boy
deliver a speech? That was the beginning of the ‘Jewish
Backpack’ odyssey and exploration.”
Backpack” is an odyssey through the Jewish world,
covering every part of the globe and hundreds of years
of history. It is an inspiring mosaic of customs,
ceremonies, traditions, prayers, poems, philosophy,
memories, personal stories, and literary creations. Its
harmonies bring together voices from eastern Asia and
from the US, from Europe and Africa, as well as from the
modern State of Israel.
The vast “menu”
offered here allows any family approaching a
bar/bat-mitzvah to select and combine elements best
suited to its taste.
Actor Moshe Ivgi was
moved by the book: “It seems like yesterday that my
small hand was grasped in the much larger hand of my
father as we walked along together. My father’s hand
continues to hold mine in all my decisions, my
deliberations, all the important events in my life. ‘The
Jewish Backpack’ takes me back to those sweet memories
and wonderful places.”
The book includes an
introduction, “Why a Bar-Mitzvah?”, by Prof. Hananel
Mack, a lecturer in Jewish Studies at Bar-Ilan
University and the author of several books on Jewish
About the Author
Dr. Aliza Lavie
(born in September, 1964) is a scholar and writer who
lectures in the School of Communication at
Bar-Ilan University. She is also a social activist and
media personality, and a prominent figure in Jewish
cultural discourse in Israel. In her work Aliza turns to
the rich resources of Jewish heritage and culture to
find answers for questions of the here and now in
Israel. She presents ‘The Jewish Backpack’ as a gift to
her son and his generation.
“A Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book” won a National Jewish
Book Award and has been translated into several