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Rabbi David Cooper -
4 Decades of Serving Toronto's Jewish Community.

rabbi david cooper, toronto wedding, bar mitzvah lessons, bat mitzvah, wedding officiant
rabbi david cooper, toronto wedding, bar mitzvah lessons, bat mitzvah, wedding officiant

What are
Bar/ Bat Mitzvahs?

  • Opportunity for a child to connect to their roots, learning Hebrew. and discussing stories found in the Torah.

  • Serves to fortitude a core identity, putting their story within the greater Jewish Narrative.

  • A chance for the family to get together, to celebrate, and uplift.

  • Show gratitude to Hashem, the Holy Name that we use to describe our Common Creator in informal speech.

  • Introduction to Jewish learning, especially the emphasis on asking questions and building critical reasoning skills. 

  • A time to dance, sing, eat, and enjoy your nachos. 

What is the right age to perform a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Traditionally boys were called to the bimah when they were 13, the (rough) age of physical maturity. The goal was (and is) to make the Torah accessible to youngsters, teaching them the language of prayers and ritual. This allowed the Jews to remain connected to our roots, even after 2,000+ reals in the diaspora. They learned Halacha, Middot, Kashrut, and other staples of Jewish Life. More than just "another class", Bar Mitzvah lessons transform insecure boys into confident men. Many have taken their Hebrew (acquired in Bar Mitzvah class) to Israel, rewarded with the ability to understand basic conversation. In fact, the Israeli Ulpan method is build on the core vocabulary acquired from the Bar Mitzvah!

"Barchu Et".....

Yes...Thats Hebrew!

Keep studying :)

Judaism has been a front runner in women's education, developing the best opportunities, bar-none. Like boys, girls have an intimate potential for knowledge, benefiting equally from the Treasures found in the Torah. Called a "Bat Mitzvah"-or daughter of the commandment-girls are called up at 12, a year younger than their male counterparts. This could be a commentary on maturity, but that is for another website. In the eyes of Our Creator, men and women are interdependent, impossible to live in isolation for one another. The Bat Mitzvah allows our girls to develop the skills needed to participate in Jewish life. Our future depends on all of our children, without caveat or pretence. There is no disability that constitutes a barrier nor guilt or reservation. 

So maybe you are no spring chicken, perhaps planning your own grandchildren's simcha while wishing you had one yourself. Remember that a Bar Mitzvah is a celebration of one's choice, choosing to illuminate the Torah while it (in turn) illuminates you. Yes, adult Bar Mitzvahs are a thing...

So what is the difference between a regular B Mitzvah and that held at a later age? Nothing! In fact, a bubbie (or zaydie) can do more, because they (generally) have more time on their hands. Think about it for a moment. A thirteen year old boy (or girl) has a bevy of extra circulars, activities to balance in priority. While some student prioritize other subjects, many students are fascinated with Jewish learning, many going on to visit Israel later in life. 

Putting age aside, we are all called to the Torah at different stages in our lives. The correct approach is to embrace this calling, following the same trajectory taken by Moshe Rabbienu so many years ago.

B. Mitzvah / Wedding Inquiry

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Jewish Weddings in Toronto, Muskoka, Prince Edward County and Destination Weddings.

Elements of a Jewish Wedding:

  1. Chuppah

  2. Rabbi

  3. Ketubah

  4. Shevah Brachot

  5. Standard Hebrew Davening

  6. Lifting the newlyweds on a chair, hoisting them up physically and metaphorically. 

  7. Challah and Wine

  8. Breaking of the glass (and yelling Mazel Tov!)

  9. Wedding music, especially Bennie Friedman. 

  10. Shadchun, matchmaker. However this has transformed, with Jewish matchmakers integrating both marketing and technology. Sorry Yenta, your computer skills leave little to be desired...

rabbi david cooper, toronto wedding, bar mitzvah lessons, bat mitzvah, wedding officiant
What is that Jewish Wedding Dance? 

As you know, Jews love to celebrate. With good reason, things have not always been so good for us. When we have the chance to be happy, we do happy to the extreme. 

The dance is called the Hora, where celebrants dance in a circle formation to Hava Nagila or other tradition Jewish/Israeli songs. 

The hallmark of the dance is the lifting of the couple on chairs, supported by a team of uncles, brothers, and cousins. It symbolizes their intention to support the couple, as they go through their own challenges. 

rabbi david cooper, canton nissim, toronto rabbi, high holidays

So many years ago, so many memories. Seen here with Cantor Benjamin Nissim.

Here they are singing together, offering High Holiday Services in Toronto-Area banquet halls. 

Rabbi Cooper is available for Jewish Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Hebrew Lessons, and funerals. 

Rabbi Cooper has officiated weddings around the world: from Muskoka To Prince Edward County to Jamaica to Mexico to the Dominican. 

If you are not Jewish-and just simple need a registered wedding officiant-contact Brother Jeremy. He shares the same passion for the Torah but serves All Nations. 

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Shalom everyone and welcome to my Bar/Bat. My  Hebrew name is “X”. I am named after my great  grandmother on my mothers side. On your seats  you will find the prayer book that I made especially  for this day. The artwork is taken from the Goldstein  book of Tehilim and each picture corresponds to  one of the Psalms of David. On the inside of the book is  the order of service. Lastly, please read the  welcome page before we begin the service. Now we will begin with the Ashrei, the song of  David, which teaches us to count our blessings.  Page 1 

2. Rabbi says Ashrei in Hebrew 

/Bar/Bat: ‘​Halleluyah​’ 

3. Bar/Bat: “The Number 13” (don’t read title)For  thousands of years people have believed that there  are lucky numbers and unlucky numbers. In many  countries of the world, even today, the number 13 is  considered unlucky.With Jews the number 13  seems never to have been treated as unlucky, nor a  number to be avoided. It is not strange, therefore, that a Bar/Bat Mitzvah takes place when a girl  becomes twelve and a day. The thirteenth year sees  her changed from a girl into a woman.

In the Hagada of Passover there is another 13 “Who knows one? I know one. One is our God in  Heaven and Earth” 

And how does the song end? 

“Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen. Thirteen are  the divine attributes.” 

In our Traditions it is said that when the  children of Israel journeyed through the desert, from  Egypt to the Promised Land, there were thirteen clouds of  glory accompanying them. 

In a different work, many centuries old, it is said that  God desired to make special ornaments for Israel.  And thirteen different ornaments she prepared for  them. 

Again thirteen is the number of rules laid down long  ago for understanding the Bible. 

In the life story of Simon - Yochai, the father of  Jewish mysteries, the number 13 plays an important  part and it was for thirteen years that Simon -  Yochai was kept hidden in a cave. 

Above all, Thirteen years old is the age when a girl  must carry out her duties. This you will find in the  ethics of the Fathers. 

Among Jews 13 is a luck​y number. 

3. Parents present the Tallis.  

Bar/Bat Mitzvah says:

‘Baruch Ata Adonai elohaynoo melech haolum  asher kidashunoo bemitzvotav vetzivanoo lehitatafe  betzitzit”.  

 4. Open Ark 

/Bar/Bat: I would like to call ....to open the ark Bar/ Bat: (as they open ark): Please Rise 

5. Rabbi Sings 

6. In Praise of Torah (don’t read title) 

Bar/Bat: 

Torah is compared to water 

It cleanses people from what is unpleasant in life  Torah is compared to wine 

Time cannot render it useless; time increases its  power Torah is compared to honey 

It is sweet, rendering people free from bitterness  and hatred Torah is compared to a wall 

It protects its adherents free from violence Torah is  compared to manna. 

It proclaims the equality of rich and poor before God  Above all, Torah is compared to a crown. It sets people above all of God’s creatures

6. Bar/Bat reads ‘Opening of the Torah’ 

Almighty God, on this holy day which marks the  celebration of my Bar/Bat Mitzvah, I humbly stand  before thy holy ark to pledge that I shall observe the  laws of thy Torah, and become a responsible  member of the House of Israel. Hear my prayer, O  Lord, and grant us thy gracious blessings. Teach us  to love thee and worship thy holy name. Amen. 

7. Parents take out Torah and pass it to Bar/Bat / Mom on Right 

/Bar/Bat says: 

Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenynu, Adonai Ehad  Ehad Elohenynu, gadol adonaynu, kadosh Sh’mo Gadloo ladonai eetee ooh-ner-ro/mama shemo  yachdav 

8. Bar/Bat gives Torah to Rabbi then lifts the cover  and belt off (mom on R., dad on L.) 

 9. Aliyah’s & Torah Portions (dad moves to R. with  mom) 

.Bar/Bat: I would like to call up for the 1st Aleeyah :  Aliyah 

.Bar/Bat: (1st line of Portion) 

: after prayer 

.Bar/Bat: Amen

.Bar/Bat: I’d like to call upon the 2nd Aliyah Papa to  R. or sits down : Aliyah 

.Bar/Bat: (2nd line of Portion) 

Papa: after prayer 

.Bar/Bat: Amen 

.Bar/Bat: I’d like to call upon my parents for the 3rd  Aliyah Papa to R. or sits down, Parents to L.  Parents: Aliyah 

.Bar/Bat: (3rd line of Portion) 

Parents: after prayer 

.Bar/Bat: Amen 

.Bar/Bat: Aliyah 

.Bar/Bat: (4th and 5th lines of Portion) .Bar/Bat: after  prayer 

.Bar/Bat: amen 

 10. Path of Life 

O God of Israel, like the Jews of generations past, I  take my place as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Grant that with  them I may understand my responsibility as a Jew,  to show love to my family and friends to learn more  

and more about the traditions of my people. O God, make me grateful for all that I have, and  ready always to share with those who are in need.  Then I will be able to say:

I am a Jew because a hundred generations before  me were steadfast in their faith. I am a Jew because  the faith of Israel teaches love and kindness. I am a  Jew because the faith of Israel teaches justice,  compassion, and truth. 

Bar/Bat: Please repeat after me 

Ba-ruch a-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hei-nu mehlech ha-o lam, Sheh-hecky-anu, Vicky manu V’higee-anu  lazman ha-zeh AMEN 

We praise You, E-ter-nal God, Sov-er-in of the  universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for  enabling us to reach this season. 

11. Parent Poems / then parents sit down What I Wish For My Child 

What I wish for my child  

I wish for all our children.  

I wish for you to be a person of character  strong but not tough gentle but not weak.  I wish for you to be righteous but not self-righteous  honest but not unforgiving.  

Wherever you journey, may your steps be firm 

and may you walk in just paths and not be afraid.  Whenever you speak, may your words  

be words of wisdom and friendship.  

May your hands build and your heart preserve  what is good and beautiful in our world.  May the voices of the generations of our people  move through you and may the God of our  ancestors be your God as well.  

May you know that there is a people, a rich heritage,  to which you belong  

and from that sacred place you are connected to all  who dwell on the earth.  

May the stories of our people be upon your heart  and the grace of the Torah rhythm dance in your  soul 

“What I wish” Grandparents Poem 

Live each day to the fullest get the most from each  hour each day and each age of your life then you  can look forward with confidence and back without  regrets  

be yourself but be your best self dare to be different  and follow your own star and don’t be afraid to be  happy 

enjoy what is beautiful love with all your heart and  soul believe that those you love love you forget what  you have done for your friends and remember what  they have done for you disregard what the world  owes you and  

Concentrate on what you owe the world  when you are faced with a decision make that  decision as wisely as possible then forget it the  moment of absolute certainty never arises  Blessed is the generation in which the old listen to  the young and double blessed is the generation in  which the young listen to the old.  

12. Rabbi does blessing 

13. Throw Candy 

14. Dad lift the Torah 

.Bar/Bat: 

V’zot ha-torah asher sam mo-sheh leaf-nay b’ney  yisrael 

Al pi Adonai b’yad mo-sheh 

then - puts in ark and .Bar/Bat belts it, parents sit  down 

15. Haftorah and blessings  

Bar/Bat Torah Speech

The story  

The story of Joseph 

My portion is Vayeshev the 9th portion in the book  of genesis it is about a coloured coat that Joseph  was given to by his father. Joseph was the favourite  child and that’s why he was given the coat.  Joseph’s father Jacob had 4 wives Leah and Rachel  and their head-maids Bilhah and Zilpah. All the  wives gave Jacob 12 sons and 1 daughter in total.  Joseph was favored because he was the youngest  of all the brothers. Later in life Joseph came to  Egypt and became a dream teller. He told about his  dreams and they told the future. Joseph helped the  young pharaoh by interpreting his dreams.Later one  of the pharaohs dreams told him that there would  be a famine so Joseph said they should save the  grains unless someone should pay for the food. So  all the Egyptians sold there land and became slaves  to the pharaoh. Soon Joseph’s siblings had to as  well, but the pharaoh wanted them as slaves. I  believe in my Torah portion that the pharaoh was  very selfish and rude.He made very bad choices  and didn’t care for his people.He wanted all the land  to himself and in return for that he made the people  slaves.In the end the slaves all left and I can say  that this means we can all learn from our mistakes!

16. Ethics 

17. Rabbi gives .Bar/Bat necklace and certificate 

18. Parents Shekianu (same as path for life) Parents: Repeat after me: Ba-ruch a-ta Adonai, Eh lo-hei-nu meh-lech ha-o-lam, Sheh-heck-ee-anu,  v’ki-y’ma-uno V’higi-anu, la-z’man-ha-zeh AMEN 

19. Parents repeat after rabbi in both Hebrew and  English 

a. -baruch shepatrani meohmshow shalazeh b. “Thank god we are no longer responsible for that  one” 

20. Cohen blessings  

Parents open ark, Rabbi sings

 21. .Bar/Bat says closing prayer (closing of the  Torah) 

Heavenly Father, I thank thee with all my heart for  my dear parents whose desire it is to raise me in the  knowledge of goodness and truth and whose tender  watchfulness has shielded me from evil and sorrow.  Shower thy plentiful blessings upon them and upon  all who are near and dear to us. Sent forth, O God,  thy light to lead and sustain me in all they ways. AMEN 

22. Hashivanu / parents close ark when she finishes .Bar/Bat: 

Ha-shiveynu Adonai eyleha v’na-shuva, Hadash  yamaynoo k’kedem 

23. .Bar/Bat says Havdala 

Wine: -barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha olam, borei peri ha-gafen. (.Bar/Bats sips wine)  Spices: -Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha olam, boray minay besamim 

.Bar/Bat: Please rise

The havdalah candle is unique. It’s multiple wicks,  remind us, that all qualities can be joined together.  We have the power, to create many different fires,  

some useful, others destructive. Let us be on guard,  never to let this gift of fire devour human life, sear  cities and scorch fields, or foul the pure air, we  breath. Let the fire we kindle be holy, let it bring  light, and warmth to all humanity. 

-Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,  boray mi horay ha aysh 

The Havdalah Blessing 

-Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam,  ha’mavdil bayn kodesh le’chol, bayn oar le’hosheck  bayn Yisra’el la’amim, bayn yom ha’shevi’ee  la’sheshet yemay ha ma’aseh. Ba-ruch ata Adonai,  ha’mavdil bayn kodesh le’chol. (put candle in wine) 24. Eliyahoo 

Eliyahoo, Eliyahoo, Eliya-ah-hoo, Eliya-ah-hoo,  Eliya-ah-hoo Eliyahoo, Eliyahoo, Eliya-ah-hoo, Eliya ah-hoo, Eliya-ah-hoo 

25. Challah Blessing 

.Bar/Bat: I’d like to call upon both my grandfather  for the Ha-Motzi Mazel- Tov, enjoy the night