Dr. Ruth Westheimer among teaching sexual education and psychotherapy classes at Princeton University, encouraged one of her students, Alexis Kleinman, in getting Bat Mitzvah’ed.
In a Jewish Tradition, boys and more recently girls at the age of 13 conduct a religious service accompanied by the rabbi, as a way of entering adulthood.
“This is me saying, ‘I’m ready to be an adult in this community, to have this be a really important part of my life and take on responsibility in our group,’ and I’m showing that by leading a part of services,” Kleinman said of the experience.
Raised in a non-practicing Jewish household, Kleinman said she became fascinated with religion when she was in 10th grade at Wilmington Friends, a Quaker school.
Dr. Ruth explained that college age is actually much more fitting for when today’s youth enters adulthood:
“Judaism is such an ancient religion that when they started having Bar or Bat mitzvahs, at the time, people would take on responsibilities of independence much earlier,” she explained. “Now, college is really the time that prepares people for becoming adults.”