The words Bat Mitzvah mean daughter (bat) of the commandment (mitzvah).
At the age of twelve, a Jewish girl automatically becomes a bat mitzvah, when she is considered to be an adult and undertakes the responsibilities for following Jewish law, formerly the parents', including the rights and obligations of fulfilling the mitzvot (commandments) as prescribed in the Torah.
Although there is no religious requirement for a ceremony to confer these rights and obligations this custom has greatly evolved over the years and in many reformist synagogues there will be a bat mitzvah religious ceremony followed by a bat mitzvah celebratory gathering/party to be enjoyed by family and friends. The involvement of the bat mitzvah girl in the service in the synagogue will vary significantly depending on the different denominations within Judaism and the practices of the congregation.
The bat mitzvah celebrations may be wonderfully extravagant, reflecting the importance of the occasion within the family and the community.
In addition to being called upon to read from the Torah, the bat mitzvah may also lead a discussion of that week's Torah portion, in a non-Orthodox synagogue, and will often give a much anticipated speech after the bat mitzvah service or at some point during the following festivities.
Any gift considered appropriate for a girl celebrating her twelfth birthday may be given to the bat mitzvah and a range of beautifully handcrafted bat mitzvah greeting cards, which may be personalised with the name of the bat mitzvah can be purchased online from frisky frog.
Appropriate greetings for the bat mitzvah include Mazel Tov on your Bat Mitzvah and Congratulations On Your Bat Mitzvah.