The Townsville Jewish community celebrated its first ever Bar Mitzvah last Saturday January 6th 2018 – 19 Tevet.
The service was held in the Sasoon Chabad RARA House in Townsville and Barnabas Sarnyai became a Bar Mitzvah – a full fledged Jewish adult.
Family and friends came from as far away as Cairns to join his family and the Townsville Jewish community at Chabad RARA of North QLD. who celebrated the simcha with song, dance, and the occasional “l’chaim!” with them.
In a Jewish rite of passage dating back to Biblical times, a Jewish male reaching the age of 13 becomes a “Bar Mitzvah,” literally “son of the commandment,” marking the beginning of his Jewish adulthood.
The occasion marks more than his newfound Jewish obligations: Barnabas, now an adult, is responsible for his actions and their consequences. Moreover, he is charged with setting a positive example for his family, friends, and community.
“Barnabas’ Bar Mitzvah marks the first transition into Jewish adulthood for our small community, one we are sure will be marked by upstanding values, leadership, and meaning”,
Barnabas’ Rabbi Ari Rubin, of the Chabad RARA movement in North QLD, explained.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with our small but wonderful community.”
While the actual transition into adulthood as a Bar Mitzvah occurs automatically upon the 13th birthday, it is tradition from time immemorial to mark the occasion with joyous celebrations, festive meals, and dancing, as well as a series of observances which vary across the Jewish landscape.
The ultimate purpose of a Bar Mitzvah, however, does not lie within the customs of the day; rather, it is the impact and lifelong effect of the experience on the boy’s identity as a Jew.
The true meaning of a Bar Mitzvah is its role as a foundation for a lifetime of dedication to Jewish observance and growth.