Your important coming-of-age ritual is fast approaching and that means you’ll need to articulate the components of your spiritual growth in front of your friends and family. You can even bring up other important rites of passage, like when the mohel circumcision procedure was conducted following your birth.
It’s time for your barmitzvah speech! Since you may have already heard a bat mitzvah speech and a bat mitzvah parent speech, you can easily brainstorm with your family to come up with a good story and flow. It’s not so scary when you know what to do. Below, we explain the steps you can take to secure a speech that makes everyone proud.
1. Start with An Outline of Your Speech.
Starting with an outline keeps you focused and allows your speech to have an easy-to-follow flow. Speeches are much like stories and require a basic structure that includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Whenever you’re delivering a barmitzvah speech, there are certain elements to the message you can adhere to.
In your introduction, you can express gratitude to all attendees for their support of your coming-of-age ritual. In the body, you can share your personal feelings regarding your spiritual evolution and share an anecdote that epitomizes your strength and growth. When you conclude, you can turn your attention to your parents and 1) offer praise for their assistance in spiritual growth, 2) remind them they are loved immensely, and 3) finish by offering a blessing.
Think back to a memorable barmitzvah speech. Consider how the bat mitzvah speech you last heard was structured. Or try to recall the components of your favorite bat mitzvah parent speech. All of this will help you.
2. Identify Personal Stories.
As a young man emerging into the next phase of life, you house a vault of memories. Think about all the ways you have grown spiritually and jot down all the memories that come to mind. Try not to think of the “perfect” story, rather let the memories pour out from your heart. Put them on paper as they come, even if that means bullet points or long prose paragraphs.
This is also a good opportunity for you to connect with your family and discover what memories are most prominent in their minds, what has stood out the most from their perspectives, and what moments they cherish to this day. If you’ve heard them deliver a bat mitzvah speech, you know they remember all the little things. They may even help you recall stories from when you were younger and may have some anecdotes to share about your mohel circumcision procedure.
Here we summarize a few thoughts to consider, if you feel they deserve mention in your speech:
- How you have prepared for your special day
- What role you have taken with your family celebrations
- Your mohel circumcision procedure, which marked your faith and devotion from birth
- Your spiritual growth milestones, in the best way you can convey them
- Moments that demonstrate your growth into manhood
Don’t be afraid to incorporate humor here. This is a massive milestone in your journey and while speaking on your accomplishments and your religious progress is the main focus, you can always incorporate humor into your storytelling. Surely, there have been more than one or two moments during which you and your family have erupted in laughter. If you can weave humor into your speech, your audience is sure to be delighted along with you.
3. Incorporate the Torah.
As you brainstorm ideas for your speech, you will certainly come across a d’var Torah, which will help you better explain your evolution. There are many lessons to choose from and you can choose one which best relates to your personal experiences.
For instance, Abraham has always been a pillar in the realm of kindness, as he dedicated his life in service to others. Perhaps you can relate your inherent kindness to the story of Abraham and consider how you may have touched your friends with kind words and gestures, how you may have gone out of your way to help strangers, and how these lessons have gifted you with more wisdom throughout your life.
Abraham has taught many lessons, and two primary points he stresses in loving others include 1) exemplifying kindness with your entire heart and 2) going above and beyond in your quest to be helpful toward others. You can incorporate God’s words to Abraham, when he asked him to keep His covenant through the mohel circumcision procedure. Consider these teachings and how you have worked to exemplify them. From here, you are able to incorporate the Torah and correlate core teachings with stories of your own honorable behavior.
4. Write It All Down.
Once you’ve created your outline and you’ve jotted down the relevant stories you can recall, you can begin filling in the outline structure by putting it all on paper. Though it may feel counterintuitive, start your speech by filling in the body of it. Think of the last bat mitzvah parent speech you heard and recall how it was laid out.
The main portion of your speech is the body and should incorporate your personal stories and main points. When the body of your speech is filled out, it’s much easier to write out your introduction and your conclusion. This is because you already have the core of your speech completed and can easily incorporate it into both your introduction and conclusion.
Consider how you’d like to start your speech. Would you like to kick it off with a spiritual passage that you can weave into your entire speech? How about a quote that means something to you? You can also ask your parents about this and ask them to contribute some meaningful song lyrics or quotes they feel resonate strongly with them.
No matter what you choose to incorporate into your introduction and conclusion, note that unless the body portion of your speech is solidified, your intro and outro ideas may feel out of place, lacking congruence with the main portion of your speech. When you work around the body of your speech, you’re better able to create a harmonic flow that both sounds good once delivered and helps you stay on track once you’re in the moment.
5. Do Something Else.
Here’s another piece of counterintuitive advice: do something else. Whenever you’re working on something as important as a barmitzvah speech, it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you and you may experience overwhelm as you go through the process of developing it.
Your brain needs time to rest and reset after your initial writing session. Let your thoughts simmer on paper while you go off and tend to your regular day-to-day responsibilities. Try to recall your favorite bat mitzvah parent speech and what stood out the most. Feel confident with taking some downtime to engage with your favorite hobby, sit down with a cup of tea and a good book, or even watch a movie. All these actions give you sufficient time to let what you’ve written simmer, so when you come back to your filled outline, you have a new, refreshed perspective.
6. Edit and Rehearse.
With your fresh perspective, you’ll be able to identify pieces of your initial notes that come together seamlessly and also pieces that can be cut out of your final speech. Even when you have a great memory you’re excited to share, if it doesn’t fit into the overall flow of your speech, don’t hesitate to cut it out.
Most importantly, take the time to rehearse your speech from beginning to end. This will take a couple of tries but once you’re comfortable with the flow, you’ll be able to deliver it easily.
Delivering a barmitzvah speech (same with a bat mitzvah speech!) is one of the most satisfying experiences you are blessed to enjoy in your lifetime. This is an opportunity to make your speech your own and incorporate your deepest feelings of love and excitement along with being able to reiterate the importance of your Jewish faith.
So long as you deliver your speech with the fuel of love and kindness in your heart, you can’t go wrong. You will do a great job and represent your family and faith well. Here’s to a fantastic speech and celebration – Mazel tov!
We are excited to see you progress on your spiritual path! Did you find this article helpful? Share these tips with your friends on social media. They’ll thank you for it. Let us know how your speech goes and subscribe to our blog for more! And don’t forget – when you’re looking for a skilled Surgeon Physician Mohel, give us a call. We’re here to serve you.