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The bar mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage for boys who have reached the age of 13. The bat mitzvah is the same ritual, but it is for girls—bar means son in Hebrew, and bat means daughter. The full phrase means “son/daughter who has become subject to the law.” This is with reference to the fact that in Jewish tradition, children are not considered responsible for their actions until they reach the age of 13 (or age 12 in some of the more conservative Jewish traditions). In fact, children under this age are not required to follow the commandments in the Torah, though naturally this is encouraged so that they begin to understand what will be expected of them when they are older. Instead, ...

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