A Joyous Occasion

Why celebrate the centennial of the first Bat Mitzvah?

March 2022 is the 100th anniversary of the first modern Bat Mitzvah ceremony, which marked Judith Kaplan Eisenstein’s transition to Jewish adulthood. Eventually, the Bat Mitzvah ceremony became a standard lifecycle event for Jewish girls around the world, transforming what Jewish women and girls could expect from their religious communities.

While the bat mitzvah is now marked by every denomination of American Judaism, this anniversary has particular significance for Reconstructionist Jews. Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, the first Bat Mitzvah, was the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the intellectual founder of Reconstructionist Judaism.  As the only Reconstructionist congregation in southwest Pennsylvania, Dor Hadash wants to share the celebration of this transformative moment in Jewish history with the wider Jewish community.

Event Overview

Saturday, March 19th

Dor Hadash is encouraging congregations from all streams of Judaism to use Shabbat, March 19 to recognize this milestone in Jewish history. Several congregations are honoring this landmark either within their own Shabbat services or by organizing a separate activity for congregants.

Sunday, March 20th

In collaboration with the Jewish Studies Program of the University of Pittsburgh, Dor Hadash will host a gala luncheon and educational program for the Jewish community at Congregation Rodef Shalom, which will also be available through live streaming.  Distinguished historian Rabbi Dr. Deborah Waxman, the President of Reconstructing Judaism, will be the keynote speaker, offering attendees a history of the first Bat Mitzvah and its lasting impact on Judaism around the world. A series of panel discussions and interactive activities will follow the luncheon, including a discussion of early Bat Mitzvah practices in the city of Pittsburgh; a panel on how b’mitzvah ceremonies for trans and non-binary Jews continue to expand gender inclusivity in Jewish lifecycle ceremonies; and a panel of Jewish women who recently celebrated or are planning their own adult bat mitzvah ceremonies.

For more information about programming on Sunday, click here.

Covid Uncertainty

We are proceeding with hope that a live event will be possible.  But we are aware that the final decision will depend on the speed with which the current Covid surge passes through.  So those who wish to participate can register to attend in person or to participate via Zoom (with or without lunch and program book).  We ask all who plan to attend in person to bring with them proof of vaccination status, and to weak masks except when eating.  The number of people we can accommodate in person has been cut from 300 to 150, to ensure distanced seating.

Box lunches will be distributed on Sunday, March 20th at Rodef Shalom.

A final decision on the format of this event will be made in the first week of March.

If in-person is not possible, all in-person reservations will be converted to virtual and you will receive a box lunch and program book.

If in-person is possible, all attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination upon entry. All attendees will be required to wear an N95 or KN95 mask.


Click here to register.

Those who register for the in-person or virtual event with lunch are asked to contribute $18 toward the cost of the lunch. That fee is waived for those under 30. If you are able, please consider donating in honor of your own or someone else's Bat Mitzvah or anyone else whom you wish to honor.

To accommodate everyone's needs, there are five different registration types:

In-Person Attendance with Lunch & Program Book
In-Person Attendance with Lunch & Program Book
Under 30 Years Old
Virtual Attendance with Box Lunch & Program Book
Virtual Attendance WITHOUT Box Lunch & Program Book
Program Book Only