Rabbi David Cooper -
4 Decades of Serving Toronto's Jewish Community.
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!
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.
Jewish Weddings in Toronto, Muskoka, Prince Edward County and Destination Weddings.
Elements of a Jewish Wedding:
Lifting the newlyweds on a chair, hoisting them up physically and metaphorically.
Breaking of the glass (and yelling Mazel Tov!)
Wedding music, especially Bennie Friedman.
Shadchun, matchmaker. However this has transformed, with Jewish matchmakers integrating both marketing and technology. Sorry Yenta, your computer skills leave little to be desired...
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.
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.
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
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 lucky 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)
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
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: 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: 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: (4th and 5th lines of Portion) .Bar/Bat: after prayer
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
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 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!
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