Finally, My Bat Mitzvah

23 October 2013

By Janet L. Falk, October 2013

I am 60 years old. No girls of my generation became Bat Mitzvahs. It wasn’t done. We attended the Bar Mitzvah services and celebrations of our male siblings, cousins and classmates, and never asked “Why not me?” Our mothers did not question this inequality either.

About 30 years later, my two daughters each celebrated their Bat Mitzvah. They never asked “Why do I have to?,” a very different question than the one my peers and I did not ask.

It was understood that my daughters would study, learn trope, chant the parsha and give a d’var torah.

Years later, following in their steps, I studied and became a Bat Mitzvah at age 54. It was a memorable process, one that strengthened and deepened my connection to our family’s Jewish heritage.

Thanks to the shift in gender equity, we three became Bat Mitzvahs and proudly chanted from the Torah, as my mom/their bubbie, beamed with pride.

Janet L. Falk is a former Sisterhood President and served as an Area Director for the Northeast District of Women of Reform Judaism. She also served on the Board of Trustees of The Village Temple, Congregation B’nai Israel of New York City, where she is Co-Editor of Kesher, the monthly newsletter.


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