While the Lithuanian Jewish Community is never empty and devoid of activity, over the last few days the halls, corridors and every nook and corner have seen a flood of seventh graders from the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium preparing for their bat mitzvah and bar mitzvah ceremonies. Besides reading portions from the Torah, their classmates have been planning a program of events for several months now, and are preparing for the ceremonies down to the last detail. Bar and bat mitzvahs are coming-of-age rituals ushering Jewish young people into adulthood. In this case Rabbi Nathan Alfred from the United States is presiding over the ceremony. The young people have to demonstrate in public their ability to read from the Torah in the original language to show they are ready to engage in religious and public life. The tradition has grown up of turning the ceremony into a kind of party with gifts, the utterance of good wishes and applause. The Lithuanian Jewish Community is proud to welcome the next generation into the community and adulthood.
- Sabbath Times