Hungarian Bat Mitzvah
Laszlo Hunyadi from Hungary wrote:
We, from the Orthodox Congregation of Debrecen, Hungary, have a very urgent question. Nine of our girls are going to have their Bat Mitzvah celebration on Sunday, September 28. Since we have not had such a celebration in the past decade or so, we are not quite sure about the way this celebration is supposed to be carried out
Some people suggest that the girls make an oath rather than a vow saying that they will be loyal to the Jewish People and the Torah. We do not yet know where this oath will take place, in front of the Torah or in a separate room. We have doubt about the halachic propriety of this oath. Since we have no acting rabbi at this moment, we hope to receive the proper answer from you. Thank you very much,
Laszlo Hunyadi, one of the parents and Nathan and Kati Asmoucha, shlichim from Jerusalem
Dear Laszlo Hunyadi and Nathan and Kati Asmoucha,
First, a heartfelt Mazel Tov on your daughter's Bat Mitzva! May she and her friends continue to be sources of pride for the entire Jewish People!
Having sought advice from distinguished Rabbis here in Jerusalem, I recommend that you hold the celebration in a hall, and that one of the community members say something appropriate on behalf of the congregation, and one, some or all the girls deliver a short speech about the Torah, its commandments and ideals.
In general we refrain from making any vow or oath, because making a vow or oath is considered an extremely serious matter. Therefore, I don't think either a vow or an oath is appropriate here.
Laszlo Hunyadi replied:
Thank you so much for your thorough investigation and the advice you have given. We will be pleased to consider it in our preparations for our girls' Bat Mitzva. Toda raba!