By Leslie Price, from In Any Event
As a follow-up to Creative Ideas for the Candle Lighting Ceremony Part 1, I wanted to start with some consideration of the history of the candle lighting ceremony. Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing in any Jewish text that describes or mandates this tradition. No one knows exactly when it began or who started it, only that the popularity of the candle lighting ceremony has grown to the point where it’s now an expected occurrence at any Mitzvah celebration.
Technically, when Jewish children “become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah,” they become responsible for their own actions. The term Mitzvah has also come to express any act of human kindness. Here are some additional alternatives to the traditional candle lighting ceremony:
1. Remember Us Project – One and a half million Jewish children were lost during the Holocaust before they had a chance to grow into Jewish adults, many before their own call to the Torah. Visit Remember-Us.org to request a name of one of these children. Dedicate the first candle to this lost child and ask your child to make a commitment to saying the Kaddish prayer on the anniversary of his/her Mitzvah each year, so we never forget.
2. Volunteer – Take photos of your child doing 13 volunteer projects. Have him/her dedicate each Mitzvah to an honoree. For example, “To my grandmother, who always read to me and continues to inspire my education, I donated books to our local library.” Or “To my Aunt and Uncle, who taught me to reuse, renew and recycle, I planted a tree in Israel.”
3. Mitzvah Pledge – Have your child pledge 13 Mitzvah or good deeds that he or she plans to achieve, either over the next year or over his or her lifetime. It can range from helping around the house without being asked to organizing volunteers at soup kitchens. Ask each guest to silently light his or her candle at their table and make a Mitzvah pledge of their own.
We would like to once again thank Leslie Price from In Any Event for these fabulous ideas!