Bar and Bat Mitzvah mean, literally, "son and daughter of the commandment." Bat Mitzvah is Hebrew, while Bar Mitzvah, historically a much earlier ceremony, is Aramaic. The word bar is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew ben (son of). While Bar and Bat Mitzvah are often used to refer to the ceremony, the terms also refer to the child. Thus, a boy if referred to as a "Bar Mitzvah" and a girl as a "Bat Mitzvah."
Historically, first Bar Mitzvah and later Bat Mitzvah represented a ceremonial recognition that a young person had reached the age when he or she was no longer a minor according to Jewish law and thereby took on new religious privileges and responsibilities of an adult. For boys, this age was 13, for girls, 12.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations at the Sandhills Jewish Congregation are built on study in our religious school and several months of intensive work with Rabbi Brickman via Skype and in person. Because we have a wide range of affiliations, specific details of how a Bar or Bat Mitzvah leads the service vary for each individual, but all are "called up" to read from the Torah.