B*Mitzvah Project

Bat Mitzvah’s 100th Birthday

One hundred years ago, in March 1922, Judith Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, became the first Bat Mitzvah.

In this moving and intimate podcast from Judaism Unbound, Carole Balin and Judith Rosenbaum, who each played a key role in the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Bat Mitzvah at 100 initiative, talk through the history of Bat Mitzvah, its contemporary iterations, and some of its possible futures.

Click below to hear the Bat Mitzvah’s 100th Birthday podcast from Judaism Unbound.

The Judaism Unbound podcast, hosted by Dan Libenson and Lex Rofeberg, explores pressing issues for American Judaism today. In this episode you will hear:

  • What the fathers of the first Bat Mitzvah girls had in common.
  • Where Judith Kaplan physically stood as she became Bat Mitzvah.
  • Stories of intergenerational B-Mitzvah like the grandmother who learned with her grandchild so she too could finally experience the ceremony.
  • The role of summer camps in the first B-Mitzvah.
  • Why rugelach were a required menu item at celebrations in 1940’s Atlanta.
  • The power of one and the process of social change.
  • Ways in which B-Mitzvah is a gateway to Jewish life and the variety of ceremonies, experiences, and locations that have enriched the Jewish community.


Photographic Credits

Banner photograph by Sadie Braunstein
All other photographs courtesy of Judaism Unbound