Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Overview

PMA Best Religion Book of the Year!
The inspiring guide to spiritual celebration used in hundreds of congregations—Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist—revised and expanded!

"Parents and their children acutely feel the social pressures that surround bar and bat mitzvah. But they want to feel the spiritual promise of the event, the pull of the divine, and the knowledge that they are participating in an event that has meaning both in the ancient past and in the very immediate ...

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Overview

PMA Best Religion Book of the Year!
The inspiring guide to spiritual celebration used in hundreds of congregations—Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist—revised and expanded!

"Parents and their children acutely feel the social pressures that surround bar and bat mitzvah. But they want to feel the spiritual promise of the event, the pull of the divine, and the knowledge that they are participating in an event that has meaning both in the ancient past and in the very immediate present. They want to know that the steep incline before them is their family's own version of Sinai, the summit where, in every generation, Jews meet God, individually and as a people. They want to know that bar and bat mitzvah can be a path to that summit. And they want to know how to get there. . . . This book can be their guide."
—from "Why This Book Was Born"

Helps people find core spiritual values in American Jewry's most misunderstood ceremony—bar and bat mitzvah. In a joining of explanation, instruction and inspiration, Rabbi Salkin helps both parent and child truly be there when the moment of Sinai is recreated in their lives.

Rabbi Salkin asks and answers questions that make parents and children more comfortable with the event and able to experience it more joyfully. How did bar and bat mitzvah originate? What is the lasting significance of the event? What are the ethics of celebration? What specific things can you do to reclaim the spiritual meaning of the event? How to further develop spirituality? What spiritual values can parents and young people build together?

To help guide friends and family who are not Jewish through this important Jewish life cycle event, Rabbi Salkin provides a brief, welcoming overview: “What Non-Jews Should Know About the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An invitation to all families to link the sacred act of 'going up' to the Torah with the sacred process of ‘growing up’ in faithfulness to God and community."
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist), Beth-El Zedeck Congregation, Indianapolis

“I hope every family planning a bar or bat mitzvah celebration reads Rabbi
Salkin’s book.”
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (Conservative), author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Shows the way to restore spirituality and depth to every young Jew’s most important rite of passage.”
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (Orthodox), author of Jewish Literacy

“Raises the questions that most need to be asked at every bar and bat mitzvah.”
Rabbi Laura Geller (Reform)

Library Journal
This book is destined to enjoy great popularity, for it addresses an important Jewish life cycle occasion in an exciting, contemporary style. The catchy title reflects the tone of the book. In illuminating the meaning of the bar mitzvah ritual, Salkin covers all bases: history, sociology, and religion. Recognizing that the bar mitzvah is an emotional event, particularly in families that are not observant, he explains its significance as a link in the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition as well as a rite of passage. The chapter on the highlights of the Sabbath prayers is useful. Throughout, Salkin offers instant answers to the perplexing questions of faith and belief. In our age of instant gratification, this approach has great merit and appeal. For most Judaica collections.-- Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
From the Publisher

"An invitation to all families to link the sacred act of 'going up' to the Torah with the sacred process of ‘growing up’ in faithfulness to God and community."
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist), Beth-El Zedeck Congregation, Indianapolis

“I hope every family planning a bar or bat mitzvah celebration reads Rabbi
Salkin’s book.”
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (Conservative), author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Shows the way to restore spirituality and depth to every young Jew’s most important rite of passage.”
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (Orthodox), author of Jewish Literacy

“Raises the questions that most need to be asked at every bar and bat mitzvah.”
Rabbi Laura Geller (Reform)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580232227
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 540,641
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is recognized as one of the most thoughtful Jewish writers and teachers of his generation. He has helped people of all ages find spiritual meaning in both the great and small moments in life.

A noted author whose work has appeared in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and the Congressional Record, Rabbi Salkin is editor of The Modern Men's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Jewish Men on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions; and author of Being God's Partner: How to Find the Hidden Link Between Spirituality and Your Work, with an introduction by Norman Lear; the bestseller Putting God on the Guest List: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah; For Kids—Putting God on Your Guest List: How to Claim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah; and Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Models for Sacred Relationships (all Jewish Lights), among other books. ?

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is available to speak on the following topics:
• Is God on Your Guest List?
• Where Are the Men?
• While You Were Out, God Called
• The Secret War Against Israel (or, Why John Lennon Was Wrong)
• Outside the Red Tent

Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, a parent, spiritual leader, and storyteller, is the awardwinning author of God's Paintbrush, In God's Name, God In Between and many other inspiring books for children of all faiths and backgrounds. The second woman to be ordained as a rabbi (1974) and the first rabbi to become a mother, she and her husband, Dennis, were the first rabbinical couple to jointly lead a congregation—Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. They have two children, David and Debora, and three grandchildren. Sasso, who holds a doctorate in ministry, is active in the interfaith community, and has written and lectured on the renewal of spirituality and the discovery of the religious imagination in children of all faiths.
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Nurturing the Spiritual Imagination of Children
  • Tell Me a Story: Reading the Bible and the Religious Imagination of Children
  • Filling in the Blanks: How Women Read the Bible
  • Women and Judaism: A Personal Journey
  • Midrash as a Tool for Spiritual Reflection

Click here to contact the author.

Rabbi William H. Lebeau is vice chancellor and chairman of the Department of Professional Skills and dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He was a congregational rabbi for nearly twenty-five years.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis
Introduction by Rabbi H.William Lebeau, Vice Chancellor, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Preface to the Third Edition Why This Book Was Born

Chapter 1 Beyond "Today I Am a Man"
Chapter 2 “Speak to the Children of Israel”: How Bar and Bat Mitzvah Speak to the Inner Life of Children
Chapter 3 The River of Tears: How Bar and Bat Mitzvah Speak to the Inner Lives of Parents and Grandparents
Chapter 4 Hearing God's Voice: The Meaning of Torah
Chapter 5 Putting the Mitzvah Back in Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Chapter 6 Rites and Wrongs of Passage: Putting the Party in Perspective
Chapter 7 To a Skeptical Jewish Parent
Chapter 8 The Shabbat Morning Worship Service: Finding Your Place in the Words
Chapter 9 The Changing Jewish Family
Chapter 10 After the Thank You Notes: Helping Your Jewish Teenager Develop Jewish Values

Appendix 1 What Non-Jews Should Know About the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Service
Appendix 2 A List of Places for Your Tzedakah Go and Learn: Resources for Jewish Parents
Glossary
Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading

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