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Frequently Asked Questions

Everything You Need To Know About Lizzie's Bat Mitzvah

(and probably more than that)

Question: What is a Bat Mitzvah?

Answer:  Bat Mitzvah loosely translates to “Daughter of the Commandments”. It’s a Jewish tradition that marks the passing from one stage of life to another. When a Jewish person is around 13 years old, they are invited to stand before the congregation and allowed to read from the Torah, one of our most sacred texts. After that they are considered, in the eyes of the Jewish community, an adult. From that day forward, they are responsible for their own decisions and obligations regarding their religious life.

It is also tradition to celebrate this special moment in a Jewish person’s life with family, friends, and other members of the community. Being joyful while fulfilling the commandments is a tenet of Judaism. Sharing meals, dancing, and having a party is a way to show our joy and celebrate Lizzie’s reaching this milestone.

Question: What is a Mitzvah Project?

Answer:  As part of her Jewish education, Lizzie has learned the obligation of all Jewish people to work to repair the world. As part of her preparation to become a Bat Mitzvah, she has chosen to raise funds for the Surfrider Foundation. Lizzie has chosen the Surfrider Foundation because she is very concerned about climate change in general and plastics pollution in our water supply in specific. The Surfrider Foundation does a lot of work to clean up the world’s water supply and advocate for more responsible policies and regulations to better protect it in the future. For more information, click here.

Question: There are three events listed on this site. Am I invited to all of them?

Answer:  Yes, if you received an invitation, you are invited to attend all three events.

Question: Do I have to attend all three events?

Answer:  No. Come to just the party. Come to all three events. Come to any combination in between. It would be our pleasure to celebrate with you in any way that fits your life and is comfortable for you. You are welcome at all events, but by no means obligated.

Question: Do I have to bring anything to the synagogue services or party?

Answer:  Just yourself and your good wishes for Lizzie.

Question: Can I bring extra people?

Answer: This is a family event, so parents, siblings, and children are welcome to attend. That said, please RSVP for everyone in your party so we can provide accurate headcounts to the venues and caterers. 

Question: How do I RSVP?

Answer: Just click here or the Welcome link in the menu at the top of the page. Then click the RSVP button for the event you want to RSVP for and fill out the webform. You should get a confirmation email soon after submitting your RSVP.

Question: Do I have to be Jewish to attend the Bat Mitzvah?

Answer: Absolutely not. There are certain parts of the service that can only be performed by a Jewish person, but people of all faiths are welcome to our sanctuary and to the party. One of the four pillars of our synagogue, is Embracing Diversity. Our own family is one of multiple faiths. There will be many folks among the attendees who are not Jewish.

Question: What if I don't speak Hebrew?

Answer: Not a problem. Very few of us are actually Hebrew speakers. Our services are held in a mixture of Hebrew and English and our Rabbi does a good job of explaining what is going on for those who aren’t familiar. The synagogue also provides a transliteration guide for services sounding out the songs we usually sing in Hebrew, so if you want to give singing along a try, you can. La-la-la and silence are also valid options.

Question: I'm not able to attend in person. Can I follow along online?

Answer: Yes. Since 2020 Congregation Kneseth Israel has been offering hybrid services via Zoom for those who are unable to attend in person. If you can’t join us in person but would still like to observe the service, please let us know. We will send you a Zoom link and password so that you can log in remotely.

Question: What is the difference between the Friday night service and the Saturday morning service?

Answer: In Judaism our days begin at sundown, so Shabbat starts on Friday night. While both services celebrate Shabbat, the Friday night service is the way we welcome Shabbat into our lives. We have a short service which usually only lasts about an hour. Afterwards we have some desserts and celebrate the sweetness of Shabbat. On Saturday morning the service is a little more involved because we also study a section of the Torah. As part of her Bat Mitzvah, Lizzie will be reading from the scroll and teaching the congregation about it. Because Saturday morning includes studying and reading from the Torah, the service is longer, lasting about two or two and a half hours.

Question: What should I wear to the synagogue?

Answer: The dress code at our synagogue is fairly flexible. Dress with the idea of respecting the occasion in mind, but don't worry about being formal. In general, think “business casual” for the services. A nice dress, a blouse and slacks, polo and khakis, a suit. All of these are acceptable attire.

Question: Do I have to wear a kippah?

Answer: Men must wear a kippah while in the building, even after services. Women are strongly encouraged to wear a head covering on the bimah as a sign of respect and in recognition that this is an egalitarian congregation. Don't worry if you don't have a kippah of your own. Lizzie will be providing special kippah that you can wear and keep as a souvenir.

Question: Do I have to wear a tallit?

Answer: Jewish men should wear a tallit during services. In recognition that this is an egalitarian congregation, women may also wear a tallit during services. Extra tallit are available at the synagogue if you do not have one of your own. Lizzie will be receiving her own special tallit that morning, which belonged to her great-grandfather.

Question: Do we get to throw things at Lizzie?

Answer: Yes! Once Lizzie has completed her ritual obligations during the Saturday morning Shabbat service it is traditional to shower the Bat Mitzvah girl with candy to represent our wish for a sweet transition into Jewish adulthood. Candy will be provided for everyone in the building to throw at Lizzie at the appropriate time. After we shower her with sweetness, the candy will then be collected and shared out.

Question: What should I wear to the party?

Answer: The party is a dressy-casual or festive dress occasion. This is going to be a night of magic and fun, so wear whatever makes you feel fabulous. Generally speaking, this is a special occasion, but no one will be wearing a ball gown or tuxedo. Also, be prepared for an evening of dancing, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.

Question: Should I bring a gift?

Answer: If you would like to honor Lizzie by bringing a gift to her party, it would be appreciated. Regarding traditional Bat Mitzvah gifts, in Jewish numerology, the word חַי (pronounced khai), which means “life”, is represented by the number 18. Because of this many choose to commemorate major life events, such as a Bat Mitzvah, with monetary gifts in multiples of 18.

As part of her Jewish studies and preparation for this big event, Lizzie is also raising money for the Surfrider Foundation. Surfrider does valuable work keeping the water supply clean and free of pollutants. If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser in lieu of a gift, you can find more information about Surfrider and her fundraiser here.

Question: Do we get to lift Lizzie up on a chair?

Answer: Yes. At the party on Saturday we will be doing a traditional hora dance and we will raise Lizzie on a chair and dance her around the room. We will even have a special light up LED chair for the event.

Question: Do we get to lift Lee, Nikki, and/or Renee up on a chair?

Answer: No.

Well, if you can convince Renee, you could raise her on a chair. But absolutely no grownups will be airborne.

Question: Will Lizzie be getting cut in half?

Answer: We have engaged services of a professional magician to perform strolling illusions during the cocktail hour and a full magic show during dinner at our Mitzvah Magic Celebration on Saturday evening. The exact tricks he'll be performing is unknown to us. However, a suggestion was made that he might be cutting someone in half and that person might be Lizzie.

Question: Will there be dancing?

Answer: Yes and no. At the Friday night service and the Saturday morning service there is not typically dancing. However at the celebration on Saturday night there will absolutely be dancing. We have a DJ coming who is working specifically with Lizzie to make sure that the dance party is awesome for all. Please wear comfortable shoes because we will be dancing the night away.

Question: Is the food going to be Kosher?

Answer: Yes and no. At the synagogue all food is kosher so the dessert buffet after Friday night services and the luncheon after Saturday morning services will be kosher. However, the celebration at Gather on Saturday night will not be. Gather is not a kosher facility, and our caterer is not a certified kosher caterer. However, Lizzie has decided that, because this is such an important occasion in her Jewish life, she would like the menu to be served Kosher style.

Question: What does "Kosher style" mean?

Answer: Kosher style is a way of adhering to some of the rules of kashrut without the ritual certification necessary for the meal to be truly Kosher. For our purposes, this means that during the cocktail hour there will be no meat in the passed hors d’oeuvres; there will only be dairy offerings and vegetarian offerings. Then during dinner and dessert there will be meat, which means there will be no dairy. There will also be no pork products, shellfish, or things of that nature. 

There will also be a specialty cocktail available throughout the entire party which we have ensured will be vegan, thus it will have no meat and no dairy and be completely acceptable to be served with either food.

Question: What if I have food allergies?

Answer: When you fill out our RSVP form, there is a special section for additional information. Please let us know if you have any food allergies and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We may not be able to ensure that everything available at the synagogue and party is safe for you, but we will do our best to prevent any cross contamination and make sure there is something there for everyone to enjoy.

Question: Is there going to be a vegetarian/vegan option?

Answer: When you fill out our RSVP form, there is a special section for additional information. Please let us know if you need a vegetarian/vegan option and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We will do our best to prevent any cross contamination and make sure there is something there for everyone to enjoy.

What is a Bat Mitzvah?
Wht is a Mizvah Project?
Am I invited to all three events?
Do I have to attend all three events?
Do I have to bring anything?
Can I bring extra people?
How to I RSVP?
Do I have to be Jewish?
I don't speak Hebrew
Can I Zoom the service?
Friday vs Saturday
Dress Code Synagogue
Throwing candy
Dress Code Gather
No flying grownups
Kosher Style
Food Allergies
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