Most temples offer the parents of the Bat Mitzvah girl or Bar Mitzvah boy an opportunity to share some words of wisdom. Even if you are the best contemporaneous speaker on earth, I would still recommend jotting down your thoughts. I have attended hundreds of B’nai Mitzvot and have never, ever seen a parent speak who was not feeling intensely emotional at the moment. If you take no other advice from PartyIdeaPros.com, please give yourself plenty of time to mull over what you would like to say to your child and write it down!
After many requests for sample speeches we are beginning to compile the best of the best. If you would like to help out other parents who searching for inspiration, please submit your speech to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. We will publish the best of the best!
Your child’s name-
When we began this journey, we viewed today as an individual rite of passage — a celebration of your birthday, the legal age in which you assume a role of responsibility in the Jewish community, and a celebration of your hard work and your efforts, and especially all of your enormous accomplishments. But with time, it became clear that this celebration is really much larger than just that – for mom and me, it is about trust in G-d.
At first we wondered, why this Torah portion. The answer … maybe it’s meant to be. Mom would say, “it’s b’shert.” As you well know, and will discuss later this morning, this week’s Torah portion is from Leviticus, the rulebook of the Torah. And although Leviticus lacks the great stories of Genesis and Exodus, those who know you well and understand you, would probably agree that this is your book. It provides structure and purpose to life’s vagaries. It elevates events of daily life to a higher moral ground. You do best when life is unambiguous – You like clarity and lucidity. The clearer the rules the better. You welcome and find merit in ritual and easily appreciate the Torah’s bigger lessons. We proudly watched as you grew to understand just how valuable the weekly parsha, even this seemingly archaic portion, could be in your daily life. We hope that you will continue your studies and will continue to turn to the Torah throughout your life, for the sheer joy of study, for answers and for questions and mostly, for hope.
Today, in this temple, a house of worship and ritual, you join them. It is your turn to be encircled by family, friends and community – some of whom have never even met you, and yet were willing to make the effort to be here with us. We are all here to witness and celebrate with you, as you represent our trust in G-d, our hopes, our dreams. You are the promise. We watch you embracing the torah, the cornerstone of our faith, with joy and comfort, knowing that you will strive to live by the values it teaches.
The Torah is the authority that guides our choices in life. You will have many choices in your life. We have come to trust your judgment and your choices. But throughout your life you will be thrown curveballs, unexpected events happen. Remember that Leviticus and its rules is just 1/5th of the Torah, much of the Torah is about life unfolding and learning how our ancestors dealt with the life’s challenges, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. We want you to know that Mom and I will always be here for you as your life unfolds.
We also want you to know that family and friends are here for you too. Your child’s name, may you endeavor to be a good person. Remember that all G-d really requires from you is your just actions. It really is pretty black and white – it’s about mitzvot, it’s about your deeds.
It is about respect for and pride in your heritage, and living an ethical, balanced life with honor, integrity, and laughter.
May you learn from those that came before you and from the example of those around you today. May you wear our dreams as comfortably as you wear your tallit and carry on our hopes, and may you, too, always trust to G-d.
We love you forever.
Your child’s name, in your Torah portion, Moses says, “Dedicate yourselves to the Lord this day … that he may bestow a blessing upon you today.” And here we stand. You, like your Mom and I before you, and your grandparents before us and their parents before them, dedicating yourself to G-d. Looking out we can see just how blessed you are, surrounded by friends and family who love you and are here to support you. Know Mom and I will also always be here whenever you need us and even sometimes when you don’t think you need us. But today, we are all here to witness your commitment to G-d and the Jewish people and to celebrate with you. We watch you, embracing the Torah, the cornerstone of our faith, with joy and comfort, knowing that you will strive to live by the values it teaches.
From the day you were born, we intuitively knew you were especially blessed by G-d. And we were right. You have so many talents `… you are bright, you are creative, you are funny, you are athletic and you are a natural leader. We hope you recognize, celebrate and cherish these blessings as gifts from G-d to be used wisely and responsibly. Look to the Torah as inspiration and guidance as you face the daily joys and challenges of your life.
We know you love a good story and are drawn to the larger than life epics which unfold in the books of Genesis and Exodus. Embrace not only the stories, but also their lessons. Emulate the mighty intellect and conviction of Moses. Nurture the compassion and leadership skills of Aaron. And in these times of doubt and turmoil, adopt your ancestors trust in G-d. As your life unfolds, we hope you will more and more learn to value the other books in the Bible, too … yes, even the books dealing with the laws and rules. The Torah is the authority that guides our choices in life. The Torah teaches both balance and structure.
We hope you turn to G-d and the Torah to find that balance and to create structure in your own life, for you will need both to fulfill the promise in you, to find the holiness within and to appreciate, cultivate and celebrate the very special blessings G-d has bestowed upon you.
Not only do you have the writings and teachings of the Torah to turn to for guidance, you are encircled by family and friends who, too, have dedicated themselves to G-d: striving to live ethical, balanced lives with honor, integrity and laughter. You are surrounded by loved ones who are what Nanna and Bubbe, might call mentsches. You are blessed to have such wonderful role models.
And your child’s name, no boy called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah, could have better role models than your grandfathers. Both are professionally accomplished and successful. Both Grandpa and Popol are cherished by those whose lives they have touched. They are respected for their warmth, their dignity, their intellect, their virtue, and yes, their humor. And equally important, both are committed to the teachings of the Torah. They have devoted hours and hours to ‘Tikum Olam,” or repairing the world, and to doing “Mitzvoth” or good deeds. They know that if you endeavor to be a good person, life is much more simple. They understand that all G-d really requires from you is your just actions. So your child’s name, remember, it’s about mitzvoth, it’s about your deeds; it’s about the choices you make. You are so very blessed to have wise and loving grandparents. Emulate them!
As you know, Granny and Grandpa wanted to be here with you to witness you being called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. They wanted nothing more than to be able to pass the Torah to still another generation and have expressed to you their pride in your accomplishments and joy in your acceptance of the responsibility of Jewish manhood. Tonight they will rejoice with us. Grandpa even sent you an email saying, “We plan to have a special bottle of champagne to celebrate on the east coast.” Once again, Grandpa gently guides us all, with grace and fortitude. He knows the Torah teaches us to serve G-d with joy. Performance of mitzvoth is to be celebrated!
Your child’s name, we are so very blessed to have you as our son. May you learn from those that came before you and from the example of those around you today. May you wear our dreams as comfortably as you wear your tallit and carry on our hopes.
May you constantly re-dedicate yourself to G-d and may G-d continue to bestow blessings upon you. We wish for you, our family, friends, our country and Israel, the words inscribed upon your tallit: “Sim Shalom Tovah Uvracha …” “May G-d give peace, goodness, and blessing…”
We love you, yes we do..!
Our Dearest your child’s name,
Poppy from Chicago had a dream that his family would make a pilgrimage to Israel, together. At every Seder, every birthday, ok, all holidays, he would passionately, declare, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
Dreaming of a pilgrimage to Israel means different things to different people. Some of us are primarily interested in the vast array of historically significant sites, and for others the awe-inspiring beauty of the countryside is enough, but for many Jews, a pilgrimage to Israel is also a spiritual journey, for some, a search for spiritual peace. Rabbi Aaron Moss explains: “Jerusalem means ‘the city of peace’ – a place of peace between body and soul, heaven and earth, ideal and reality. When our body becomes not a prison for the soul but rather a vehicle for the soul’s expression; when we live our lives according to our ideals rather than our cravings; when the world values goodness and generosity over selfish gain, then we are in Jerusalem, we are at peace with ourselves and the world.” This is the dream. You, your child’s name, personify this dream. You are blessed with the gift of serenity: your family and friends appreciate your diplomacy and quiet calm, and horses respond to your touch. This is why, your child’s name, our little Yitzchaka, she who laughs (and yes, you laugh often and easily), Poppy’s namesake, it is even more fitting that it is you, a young lady of integrity, poise, generosity and serenity who has made his dream, “Next Year in Jerusalem” a reality.
As we stand here, your relatives and congregational family, on this special day, celebrating your becoming a Bat Mitzvah, in the land of our ancestors, it is important to remember those who came before us, who we cherish and who we respect. Your grandparents and their parents and their parents before them embraced a strong, enduring belief and trust in G-d. They accepted the responsibilities of the special covenant between G-d and the Jewish people, living their lives with honor and integrity. They performed mitzvoth and tikkun olam. They had dreams. They had hopes. They created traditions. They guided us, schooled us and modeled Jewish values, and as commanded, passed them on from generation to generation.
Now your child’s name it is your turn. We watched you embracing the Torah, the cornerstone of our faith, with joy and comfort, knowing that you will strive to live by the values it teaches. We are all here to witness and celebrate with you, as you represent our trust in G-d, our hopes, our dreams. You are the promise.
As you were preparing for your D’var Torah, Rabbi _______ posed to you a few questions to ponder. Some of the questions were easy, factual questions, but some required more thought. He asked you to think abstractly and philosophically about topics that probably have never even crossed your mind. We hope you continue to ponder, to think about matters of consequence, of meaning beyond the everyday minutia. Torah will help guide you in thinking about these issues. It will make your life richer and give you moral direction.
Your child’s name, think about Torah as the authority that guides our choices in life. We hope you turn to it as you face your own choices. We have come to trust your judgment and your decisions. Nevertheless, throughout your life unexpected things will happen. Some days you will ride beautifully, other days you will be thrown off your horse, and at least once in your life, your horse will just plain refuse to move – just like in your parasha. Much of the Torah is about life unfolding and learning how our ancestors dealt with life’s challenges, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. your child’s name, please know that Mom and I will always be here for you as your life unfolds. And, that family, friends, and clergy are here for you too.
Your child’s name, remember the lesson of your Haftorah: that all G-d really requires from you is to do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with your G-d.
May you absorb the years of history, knowledge, and wisdom this amazing land has to offer, learn from those that came before you and from the example of those around you today. May you wear our dreams as comfortably as you wear your tallit and carry on our hopes, and may every year be in Jerusalem!
We love you, yes we do, do, do, do doooooooooooooo!
From the day you were born into this world you wanted the whole world to know you were on this earth. We instinctively knew at that moment you held a promise. Your hand came out waving first, as if to say, “Here I am.!” You screamed the loudest scream we had ever heard and immediately grabbed and held your bottle to your lips. Granted you were born almost three weeks late, but we knew right then you held a promise and you wanted the whole world to see and hear you. Since that day, as you have grown from a toddler to a child, to a young lady of Bat Mitzvah age, you have each step of the way shown us you continue to hold a promise. Always questioning, always either the best day of your whole life or even a paper cut could make it the worst day of your whole life, ever dramatic in life’s challenges and opportunities, but always sweet, poised and full of love. From the day you were born until this very day, you were blessed with the gifts of your grandmothers and their mothers before them, the gifts of warmth, poise, generosity, sweetness and dignity. Like your great grandfather, one of your namesakes, your eyes have always sparkled with the joy of life, full of love. This sparkle holds a promise in you.
So then, what is the promise you hold? The promise is the very values and traditions of all those who came before us, who we cherish and respect. The values and traditions of your grandparents and their parents and their parents before them, which we hope will guide you in your life – values of family, of community, of living your life with purpose and dignity, performing mitzvot and acts of tikkun olam. And importantly, your ancestors not only accepted the responsibility of our peoples’ special covenant with G-d, they also modeled Jewish values, and as commanded, passed them on dor l’dor, from generation to generation, with the hope and dream that one day their children and children’s children would fulfill the promise of living their lives with honor and integrity and with those Jewish values which call upon us to reach out to those in need, and which commands us to play a part in making this a better world. 13 years later, we can say that you are well on your path to embracing and fulfilling your promise by living these values. And always our little drama queen, we have no doubt that you will allow the whole world to see your promise!
You and I have been coming here to this shul nearly every Shabbat morning for the past 13 years. Your mother and I celebrated our aufruf here, you and your sisters were given your Hebrew names here before the Torah, and now today, at this very same Shulhan where we celebrated these moments of our greatest joy, you were called to the Torah as an adult Jew. Today you have accepted responsibility for your actions as an adult Jew. What does that mean? Today, you stand on your own before God, responsible for the mitzvot given us; it is up to you to always find your place among your people; you must now keep alive that two thousand year old connection to the Land of Israel; and now you too must hear the Torah’s call for Tikkun Olam, for you are now personally responsible to be an active part of healing this world. Is it all about responsibility? We bring you to shul every Shabbat and holiday, send you to Jewish Day School and keep the traditions and rituals of our faith in our home so that you will have knowledge – an understanding of your people and your heritage. It is our hope that from this understanding will come respect for, and pride in, your heritage and a joy in embracing the richness of our traditions. As we watched you today embracing the Torah, the cornerstone of our faith, with joy and comfort, and a sense of personal connection, we are confident that you will fulfill the promise passed down to you: to strive to live by the values our Torah teaches us – to live a virtuous life with honor, integrity and just deeds every step of the way.
Our promise to you today is to be there for you always, in joyful times and to wipe away your tears, to support you, teach you (even when you don’t want to heed our lessons), guide you through life’s challenges and prospects. Our prayer for you today is for a long life filled with peace, health, happiness and purpose, surrounded by family, friends and community. It is our hope and dream that you will turn the best days and the worst days of your life into a medley of meaning and joy. Cherish life and make each day full of purpose by enriching the lives of others with a smile, a kind word or a good deed. This will fulfill the promise. And, yes, …let the whole world see and hear you do just that!
We love you around the world and back, forever and always!
Your child’s name, from the day you were born, you have always been a blessing for the two of us, and for all your family. As a baby, you were warm and cuddly. And to this day, when you smile, we can see sunshine on a cloudy day, and when you laugh, you can take our minds off any unhappy thought. If one of your sisters has something else going on, and the other wants a playmate, you are always there. And, of course, if the phone rings any time from 3:00 to 11:00 p.m., we know it’s for you, as you are a source of happiness for all your friends.
But every person has many sides to them.
On the other hand, you have always been a determined person. (That’s a polite way of saying stubborn.) We were trying to remember your first word. Mom thought it was “Mama”, but I am pretty sure it was “NO!” If you didn’t want to do something, there was no changing your mind. While there are days that have been a little challenging as a parent, and we aren’t necessarily speaking in the past tense here, it is also something we admire about you. We admire it because it is most evident when it comes to your sense of justice and fairness. Even as an infant you would sometimes wail for hours, almost as if you were crying on behalf of all the injustices surrounding you in the world. While thankfully, you no longer wail, you still let us and everyone around you know that justice must prevail!
As we read your Torah portion, the first parashah in Vayikra, the Book of Leviticus, and the volume which is the source of so much of Jewish law, we were struck by how appropriate it was that your first act as an adult Jew should be to read aloud some of the detailed laws given to our people at Sinai 4,000 years ago. We have never seen you break a rule, and in your thirteen years, we have never seen you treat someone unfairly. These are wonderful traits, and your sense of justice has been with you since you were a baby. You your child’s name, are our righteous child. Even from an early age you instinctively knew what was right and what was wrong. Kindness, fairness and honesty have always been important to you. We know that even when it’s not popular, your compass always points north. You would rather part with friends than join them in mistreating someone.
We live in a world today in which decency, fairness, justice and order are all too often in short supply. These are lessons which the Torah, and specifically your parashah, teach us. We pray that they will forever guide you, and that you will always be known for them.
Hazakah u’beracha m’ija.
Your child’s name, as you know we gave you something to share in common with us. Like each of us, you are the middle child. You know full well the challenges associated with being in the middle, but you also know the blessings – of always being surrounded by love and friendship from the two people who share the most in common with you, your sisters. And no one knows how to appreciate her sister’s love and attention more than you – the knowing love when you let sibling 1 spend the night in your room after she watched a scary movie, or the excitement you show when sibling 2 wants to just hang and talk.
You also have a sense of balance in life that is wonderful and intriguing in its contrasts. You are incredibly cautious, but you ride and jump horses. You take your school work very seriously, but you spend hours every night chatting with friends. You have the lowest tolerance for touring an art museum, but you love doing art projects. For the last year, you have made clear that you were not happy being the designated Kiddush reader at our Shabbat table, but today you read the longest Haftorah of the year.
When we held your brit ha-bat nearly 13 years ago, we gave you two Hebrew names, name1 name 2, the names of two of your great-grandparents of blessed memory who, along with all of your other great-grandparents and grandparents were role models for all of us who followed them. Name1 came from Nona, your father’s maternal grandmother. She was a woman of courage and strength, whose dedication to her family helped bring them through some of the worst years our people have ever experienced. She had many talents and friends, but we all remember her most for her absolute dedication to her family.
Name2 came from Poppy, my paternal grandfather. A man of great strength who always had a smile and a warm embrace, who was respected for his generosity, good deeds, keen humor, and integrity. Poppy lived his life zestfully, surrounded by family and good friends. Poppy and Nona always knew how to do the right thing. Importantly, both were committed to the teachings of the Torah and doing mitzvoth, good deeds. May you draw strength from those that came before you and from the example of those who surround you today. Like each of your great-grandparents, and that day 13 years ago, this was our prayer for you – to live a life of righteousness.
Today, child’s name, we can tell you that we know our prayer has been fulfilled, and always will be. In this most important way, you showed that you were ready to be an adult long before this day. We love you forever and always! And we are always proud of you. Mazel tov!
Child’s name, from the day you were born you were termed our “easy” one. Even as a baby, you didn’t cry much or seem to need much. It was almost as if you instinctively knew there was so much going on around you that you would try and make life a bit easier for those who loved and cared for you. As you have grown from a toddler to a child, to a young lady of Bat Mitzvah age, you have each step of the way shown us you continue to be the “easy” one. Rarely do you display a temper, a dramatic flair, or a competitive nature. Rather, you are always present with a ready smile, a kind thought, a calming demeanor, and a cute (child’s name)’ism, our endearing term coined to refer to your always quick, sometimes serious, and always hilarious, even when unintended, remarks. But don’t misunderstand, behind that quiet, relaxed manner, we have all witnessed the spirited (child’s name), the mischievous sparkle in your eyes, whether you and (friend) are cutting each other’s bangs, coloring on our walls and your sisters dolls, being rescued from near drowning on the high seas, wandering off at a water park, bouncing around the house, or even just relaxing watching television, your playful, feisty personality sparkles with the joy of life, full of love.
Since you were born 13 years ago today, you have been both blessed and a blessing. You have been surrounded by people who love you and in turn you have been a source of love and amusement for all those who know you. These include four grandparents who have always been the recipients of your affection, even during your no kissing stage, your two best friends for whom your arrival heralded the completion of a close sisterhood that will last your life times, for aunts, uncles and cousins, you have always been the youngest, but in so many wonderful ways you have always ensured you have not been overlooked, you found a wonderful group of friends when you began preschool who are with you here today but you have always remained open to newcomers and so your circle of good friends seems to always be growing , and for the two of us, you have been our never ending source of love, you have given us such pride and joy, and you still remain a source of endless cuddling. You have taught us so many things, not the least of which is how to relax, put your feet up, enjoy life and how to appreciate the humor of the George Lopez TV show. While we joke about your stress- free, relaxed approach to life, there is something very refreshing, even valuable in your approach.
As we mark this special occasion, we are grateful that the wishes we expressed at your brit ha-bat, that you be imbued with the values and traits of your namesakes, your great grandmothers name and name: dedication to your sisters and family, graciousness and kind words for everyone around you, are the ways in which we think of you. And like your grandmothers and great grandmothers, yours is a gentle strength, quiet and relaxed, but always ready to act to help others when needed. May you always be known among our people for these hallmarks.
An amusing (child’s name)’ism from when you were only five or six that speaks about your nature was when (sibling 2) was already discussing college, and in a moment of silence you said you weren’t sure yet what you wanted to do, but you wanted to know what would be a good school to attend if you wanted to be a veterinarian and what would be a good school if you chose to be a clown. At the time, we all had a great laugh. But we knew then what you had already decided to make priorities in your life – caring for others, including animals, and making others smile. You are the one who on a Sunday morning will curl up with dog’s name and play for as long as she has patience, and you took up horse riding inspired by (sibling 1) and wanting to find another way to share this passion with her. You have enjoyed developing your horse riding skills, but it is not the competition which keeps you engaged, it is the bonding with (sibling 1) and the horses. And you are (sibling 2′s) biggest fan, expressing excitement watching every single show she performs in. You are easy going and the peacemaker among your sisters, always willing to give up your preferences to keep the three of you together. And to this day, when I come home at night, you always greet me with a genuine, “how was your day Daddy?” You have the special gift of being attuned to the needs of others, being considerate of others and compassionate towards all.
In our tradition, we are taught to seek a shem tov, a good name. This is not a name given to you, but one which you earn from others. Regardless of what you encounter in life, these traits already so well exhibited by you are your path to acquiring a shem tov. We don’t know if you will become a veterinarian or a clown, or maybe even a Nielsen TV rater, but we hope for you that you find a passion that will excite you to last a career, and you continue to bounce to the beat of your own drum, and that whatever you do, we pray that you will always be described as someone who heals and someone who makes those around her smile. And we pray that the love of family, of the people you come to know, of all living creatures, and of your people, our traditions, and the land of Israel remain the values which guide your life.
Mazel tov on taking your place as an adult woman in the community of the people Israel! As we close our remarks to you, I would like to make reference to the first recorded (child’s name)’ism, and that is to tell you that “I have some pretty good news for you…”
We love you, forever and always!
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