Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Second Bar Mitzvah

I have made many, many Bar Mitzvah cards over the years, but this Bar Mitzvah card request was an unusual one. It was the first time that I was asked to make a card for an 83 year old man! 
Among some Jews, a man who has reached the age of 83 will customarily celebrate a second Bar Mitzvah. My customer's father had reached that wonderful age and had decided to commemorate the event. A Bar Mitzvah essentially marks the day that a 13 year old boy becomes obligated to do the mitzvahs (God’s commandments to the Jewish people in the Torah). Once he has passed that age, he is "Bar Mitzvahed" until the final day of his life. But some people like to celebrate again, often after a period of spiritual reawakening and re-dedication to Torah study and observance. They choose a milestone birthday when they are once again called to the Torah, and they read the Torah portion that they read on their 13th birthday (or the Torah portion that would have been read on that date).
The idea for a second Bar Mitzvah comes from the Book of Psalms where King David noted that 70 years is the average person’s lifespan, and a man reaching that age starts a new life. Therefore, 70 years plus 13 years equals 83, and, if he wishes, a man can have his second Bar Mitzvah.
My customer was looking forward to travelling to England to mark the day with her father and other members of the family. Her father, she told me, has always spent a great deal of time choosing birthday cards for everyone in his family, so she wanted to come up with something extra special to mark his second Bar Mitzvah celebration. Dad sings in a choir, and is a big fan of cricket and football. I made sure that his card also included some religious elements: a tallit, which is often first worn by boys on their Bar Mitzvah; and a Magen David (Shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David), the symbol most commonly associated with Judaism today.
This young man was celebrating his first Bar Mitzvah, at the somewhat younger age of 13. He is a big fan of the English Premier League football team West Ham United F.C., so the team's newest shirt had to appear on his Bar Mitzvah card. He worked on a charity project loosely based on the board game Monopoly before his Bar Mitzvah, so the Monopoly board and some little red and green Monopoly houses went on to the card too. He is also a fan of Lego, as my own 12 year old is, so I added a few of the coloured bricks to the design. Finally, I finished it off with a gold Magen David (Star of David) and the number 13, this boy's Bar Mitzvah age.
My customer also wanted some more cards for the other members of the family. This was my opportunity to create my full range of Bar Mitzvah cards - a Magen David; a Torah scroll and tallit prayer shawl; and a Bar Mitzvah boy wearing a kippa. I am always coming up with new ideas. Another Bar Mitzvah design could likely be added soon!


TexWisGirl said...

how very special for the 83 yr old man - so glad his daughter is coming to celebrate with him. :)

Miss Val's Creations said...

These are great! I had no idea men celebrate a second Bar Mitzvah after reaching a certain age. Interesting.