Preparing for Motherhood
Congregations add gender-specific gifts for girls
“The bestowal is made under the same conditions as that of the bar mitzvah gifts for the boys: upon request, congregations comprising fewer than 1000 souls receive the book free of charge.”
In response to numerous requests, the Prussian State Association of Jewish Congregations, a voluntary association founded in 1921, decided to provide gifts to girls in parallel with the religious books given to boys upon becoming B’nai Mitzvah. While the books given to boys were aimed at deepening Jewish knowledge, the book offered to girls, Jewish Mothers by Egon Jacobsohn and Leo Hirsch, offered biographical sketches of the mothers of Jewish luminaries including Theodor Herzl, Walter Rathenau, and Heinrich Heine. As early as the the 19th century, reform-oriented synagogues in Germany began offering a collective “confirmation” for boys and girls. In some places, an individual ceremony for girls was customary, but there was no such thing as the modern bat mitzvah ceremony in 1938.
Memorandum of the Prussian State Association of Jewish Congregations to member congregations regarding gifts of books for girls on the occasion of their confirmation and graduation from school as well as bar mitzvah gifts for boys
CJA, 2 A 2, No. 2749