After years of following common Bar-Mitzvah template, we sat down to consider which Judaic values and lessons are critical to the healthy maturation of a Jewish boy or girl. Once we compiled a list, we realized that it hewed closely to twelve Torah passages which were publicized by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1976, as part of his campaign for 'The Year of Education'.So our Bar/Bat Mitzvah course became a journey of exploration in these 12 passages.
The 12 passages are selections fromScripture, Talmud and Jewish Spiritual writings. Over the course of the preparation process, these concepts are analyzed with developmentally-appropriate discussion. They are read aloud in the original Hebrew at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Service, with the speech centered around the lessons learned.
The appreciation of Torah,
The recognition of a Creator,
The drive to rise above our limitations,
The confidence that we can achieve positive results,
The empowering recognition that G‑d trusts - and is depending on - me.
The security that comes with recognizing that G‑d is in control of the world,
The passion to increase my own education,
The tenacity to try harder for success,
The sensitivity of empathy to my fellow,
The importance of making this world a better place,
And the joy that a life well-lived produces.
These concepts are so fundamental that the Rebbe felt they should be introduced to the child as early as possible. To that end, several times a year, the Rebbe would make a 'rally' especially for school-aged children- the only adults in the room were the teachers!- and encourage them in the pursuit of their education and healthy human development. These 12 Readings were recited in a lively manner, intended to become embedded as cornerstones of the child's Jewish and personal development.