The Exhibit

To illustrate the dynamism of Jewish life and to mark the 90th anniversary of the first American bat mitzvah, the National Museum of American Jewish History and Moving Traditions launched the traveling exhibition, Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age, featuring the remarkable story of how, in less than a century, individual girls, their parents and their rabbis challenged and changed communal values and practice to institute this now widely-performed Jewish ritual.

On Saturday morning, March 18, 1922 – two years after American women received the right to vote – Judith Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, became the first American girl to mark her bat mitzvah during a public worship service. In the decades that followed, many other girls and women became “firsts” in their communities, helping to reshape American Judaism.

Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age opened on March 6, 2012 at the JCC in Manhattan, and is now traveling to communities throughout North America.