The Mitzvah Bar Mitzvah : “Never too old to become a man,”


It’s Never too late to celebrate!

This past Tuesday, the 10th of July at the Chabad Centre for Jewish life in North QLD (a division of RARA) in Cairns, Grant took on a new label becoming “Bar Mitzvah”ed- a full fledged Jewish adult, albeit, well into his adulthood life.

In a Jewish rite of passage since 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, although, this doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate this special milestone later in life, if you haven’t had a chance before.

As for Grant, he never had a chance to be part of the Jewish Community.  He grew up with a Catholic Father and Jewish Mother and now lives in Harvey Bay, Queensland far from any established Jewish Community.

Grant had seen Rabbi Ari and Mushkie Rubin on the SBS documentary “Outback Rabbis” and decided to meet them to discuss his own history. While on a trip to visit his cousin in Ingham, he decided to travel the extra three hours to Cairns to meet up with Rabbi Rubin. He was finally able to get in touch with his Jewish roots.

There are no special requirements for an adult bar mitzvah. However, the bar mitzvah milestone is usually the mitzvah of tefillin. Which Jewish Men begin wearing at age 13, and continue to do so every weekday.

“That day, laying Tefillin with Rabbi Ari was such a warm & wonderful experience”

recalls Grant,

“I can honestly say that I have never felt so at peace as I do now, and for that I will forever be in his debt.”

Grant’s Bar Mitzvah marks his commitment to his newly found identity. Although he never had a chance to celebrate it when he was 13, it’s never lost, on the contrary, the privilege of studying the Torah and performing the mitzvot is something to celebrate every day!

Rabbi Ari Rubin, emissary from the Chabad Lubavitch movement dedicated to enriching Jewish life in North Queensland, explained.

“We are thrilled that Grant was able to celebrate this moment with us here. Becoming a bar mitzvah is not so much about the ceremony; rather it is an inner, spiritual state of being. We are excited for Grant for he now knows where he came from and where he belongs, as part of the Jewish family.”

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 person’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. Grant loves learning about Jewish History and rituals, recently joining the global JNet programme of Jewish tutoring over the phone with plans to continue his Jewish learning with them and Rabbi Rubin.


Ari Rubin is the Rabbi of the Cairns Jewish Community and together with his wife run the Chabad of RARA base in North Queensland

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