Daughter attending First Bar Mitzvah


…and I am realizing anew how traditional “rites of passage” like Confirmation, Bar/Bat Mitzvah are a great venue for adolescents to share their family, ethnic and religious values in an otherwise secular culture that neither acknowledges faith as an integral part of life nor celebrates welcoming young people into not only the privilege, but the responsibility of membership in the adult community. Anyone else had a positive experience to share ?


My daughter attended a quincenera of a close friend this summer. They had to get dates and attend waltz and salsa lessons all summer long before the big day. They shopped together for matching ballgowns for the waltzes and individual dresses for the salsa dances.

On the big day it all started out with a Spanish mass, then they all took a limo to a nice hotel where we had a sitdown dinner, a mariachi band, then DJ. It was as elaborate as a nice wedding, and was a nice experience for these teens to get dressed up and have a special day that included all of their family and friends. It was interesting too, because the guests were from virtually all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I think everyone enjoyed it.


My nephew is making his bar mitzvah in a few weeks. Does anyone know what is an appropriate gift?


The prevailing local preference seems to be a gift card or cash.


We just attended another Bar Mitzvah yesterday (please let me say 3.5 hours is a LONG service to sit through with a 3 y/o:eek: )…but in regards to a gift CASH or a GIFT CARD is what the norm is.


It used to be a nice pen and pencil set, a calculator when that meant something, or $13 in a card. USUALLY PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS GIVE THE TALLITZ AND RELIGIOUS STUFF. It is now dependent on local custom. In Northern Illinois, a $25-$50 gift card, savings bond, or gift certificate seems to be usual. It depends if the parents are really putting on a production number beyond the torah reading and child’s speech as a part of the regular Saturday service. Some people only have a nosh (deli trays and beverages, it means “snack”) in the synagogue or temple social hall after services. Some people have a be-all-and-end-all party that makes some wedding plain by comparison.


When we attended our first Bat Mitzvah, we were struck (positively) by two things: First, the fact that in this very important “rite of passage,” the entire assembled community in the temple sanctuary was focused on, welcoming, and supporting a single individual - unlike the “assembly line” aspect that our Confirmations can take on.

Second, after the ceremony and walking through a hallway to the banquet room at the temple, there was another small ceremony outside the doors of the hall: there was a table loaded with bread and wine…and the rabbi led us in a prayer and blessing. Sent shivers down our spines…like being in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.


I believe tradition is monetary gifts in multiples of 18. But hey, were it me, any ol’ cash gift would do. :slight_smile:


That is because you are misinformed. It’s not your fault. Confirmation has nothing to do with the young person’s rite of passage it has allowed to become. It has to do with the bishop confirming the confirmand’s baptism and the imparting of the Holy Spirit. There are dioceses in the Latin Church where, as in the Eastern Church, babies are confirmed (chrismated). There are places where 7 year olds are confirmed. There are places where they are confirmed at ten, at 12, at 14, at 16 or 17. It’s bad catechesis to suggest that the Sacrament of Confirmation is only for teenagers as THEIR confirmation of what their parents “did” to them by having them baptized. Now, if the bishops would permit priests to confirm at birth, or would hold monthly or quarterly confirmations at the cathedral, maybe this would not happen.

That will get my agreement.:slight_smile:


I’m sorry OutinChgoburbs. You are correct that in a technical sense Confirmation is a Sacrament that can take place at many ages.

However, we also need to realize that “rites of passage” are very important in every culture. To every human being. Especially to Teenagers.

Have you ever seen a video of a “gang initiation” ? Teenagers crave that sort of acceptance and ritual.

It is possible that in those Cultures where Confirmation is given at different ages that they may have other teenage “rites of initiation”. They many not even have a “teenage” culture at all.

But I put forth, as you have already accepted, that Confirmation in the USA and other places have been conveniently and wisely placed at a wonderful age for teenage initiation into adulthood.

I agree that no person, at any age, should be Confirmed - merely as a matter of course. This is the “real shame” ! So many parents are forcing their teens to have Confirmation - “beacuse I said so” Instead of it being a real decision for them to accept. I can only pray that it’s meaning will take hold for them when they are older.

However, it is is not bad Catechesis for a Parent to teach their child:


"We had you baptized as a baby. We have been responsible for getting you your religious education. We have made you go to Church on Sundays.

Now is the time for you to be a Catholic Christian Adult. A grown-up in the Church Militant. Will you accept this responsibility ? Will you now Confirm your faith in the Catholic Church ? "


God Bless



This is a faulty understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is not the confirmation candidates confirming of their own faith. It is rather the Church confirming and sealing (with the Holy Spirit) the initiation of the candidate into the Church community.

It is also incorrect to say that in the US, the age is uniformly in the teen years. At least two diocese (Phoenix and Tyler, TX) have recently moved the age to third grade to keep it closer to the age of First Communion (the second of the three Sacraments of initiation). I pray that more diocese move in this direction soon. The Bishop of Tyler has a wonderful letter on the diocesan website that explains the very sound reasoning for the change. As for other countries, many have Confirmation around fifth or sixth grade which is entering the teen years but they also routinely have First Communion in fourth grade so. Again, the idea is to place the two Sacraments close together.

It is also wrong to say that children should not be Confirmed as “a matter of course”. If we Baptise our children “as a matter of course” and take them regularly to Mass, then Confirmation should logically follow. (Not that those who are not practicing their faith should go ahead and have their kids Confirmed, but that is another discussion). How cruel we would be as parents to be effectively telling our children that we cared enough to have them Baptized but then when it comes to the graces of Confirmation we decided to leave it up to their hormonal teen whims and peer pressure. :mad: My own kids are too young for Confirmation (unless I change parishes) but we have already had this conversation many times. They know that this is not a matter of “choice” but rather the next step that we, as a family, will take in their faith journey. My oldest son, specifically, told me not to give him a choice when the time comes. He says that teenagers sometimes make stupid choices and this (Confirmation) is too important to be left to chance.


OK - Thanks I’ll look into this further.

Well, I respectfully disagree with you here.

Even an earlier Confirmed Teenager can “choose” to leave the Faith at any time.

Yet, a teenager looking for that “rite of initiation” may find solace in having their own personal choice to “Accept” Confirmation.

All Sacraments are the given through the Church.

But, they are “an outward sign - of an inward change” …
If Confirmation is done as a matter of course - where is the inward change ?

Should Matrimony be hoisted on young couples as a matter of course ?
Holy orders on some chosen young Men ?
Should we have Priests run through the halls of hospitals and Anointing every Catholic in the Hospital as a matter of course - whether they want it or not ?
Quick go into the confessional, say these words, tell something bad you did and do whatever prayer you told. - TaDa Reconciliation…:wink: {no, of course you don’t really have to mean it }

Infant Baptism is effective and affective on an Infant (who may not be aware at that time) because of the meaning for the Parents and GodParents and the community charged with it’s care.

Once the “age of responsibility” takes hold - the child must begin to make the choices and the Parents responsibility dwindles.

I will read a little more about this. I will look at that website.

But, honestly I don’t agree that any Sacrament should be done “as a matter of course” without meaning.


Sorry, that simply isn’t so. I have not accepted it. I stated facts.

In some dioceses in the US, they are confirmed as very small children, even infants. In others, they are confirmed in seventh of or eighth grade. Until the late 60s, small children who just reached the age of reason were confirmed. And Eastern Rite, and still very Catholic, babies are routinely confirmed as a matter of course. Latin Rite children in danger of death are routinely confirmed as a matter of course.

Find another rite of passage. Bring back big middle school graduations that emphasize “growing up” responsibilities of high school. Hispanic families, have your “fifteens” and cotillions. But, the nature of Confirmation is chrismation which imparts the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by the bishop confirming the child’s baptism. The graces Confirmation imparts are too necessary, and would be too useful to a child growing up in today’s world. I say, catch them while they are babies, as the Eastern Rite does.

Matrimony and Holy Orders require a calling from God, as well as a commitment to make a promise. Confirmation by its TRUE nature does not. Read what the bishop says when he confirms. It does not involve in any way a commitment on the part of the confirmand.

Confession requires sin, and an ability to tell sin from a mistake, or simple error.

And yes, it wouldn’t hurt me if the priests of this country annointed entire mextroplexes of Catholic hospital patients.


Thank you, Corki, for your insightful rebut.


Our daughters have gone to several. Tell them to dress nice, be respectful and most of all … HAVE FUN…after the first one, my oldest daughter came home and wanted to know as much about the Jewish faith as she could…It was great. We got to study the Old Testimant together.


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