Ideas for “Hanachat Tefillin” Ceremony reader writes:

Hope you’re well.  We’re making our first bar mitzvah in a few weeks’ time, iy”H, and our son will be putting on tefillin for the first time in a couple of weeks.  Just wondering what people do to mark hanachat tefillin, if anything.  Do you have any ideas?

In Jewish tradition, boys are obligated to lay tefillin (phylacteries) when they turn 13. But learning how to do it correctly takes practice, so in most communities the boys begin a few days or weeks before the actual birthday.  Many families choose to mark the occasion. Because tefillin are not worn on Shabbat, the hanachat tefillin is an opportunity for a slightly different gathering.

With our older sons, their school encouraged my husband to join the class’s morning prayer service and provide a small breakfast. This was more than enough for us in the weeks before  the Bar Mitzvah. Some parents invite the family to the synagogue or the Kotel (Western Wall) and have breakfast afterward. Then you can take some pictures to display at the Bar Mitzvah.

Do you have a creative idea for hanachat tefilin? If so please share in the comments.

You may also enjoy:

Inspiring Projects for Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel

How I Cooked for My Son’s Weekend Bar Mitzvah

Religious Zionist Wedding Series


  1. My brothers all just had breakfast and pastries after shacharis in yeshiva. My father, grandfather and other brothers would participate.

  2. My brother took his sons to see their tfillin being put together.

  3. Esther – that’s a nice idea. Our son isn’t going to be in Israel (where the tefillin were made) till after his bar mitzvah, but the sofer set up a Skype meeting, and we watched while he talked us through putting them together.

  4. my son’s was very low key.we took our son to our beit knesset for his hanachat tfillin.he invited his two good friends whom we took out for breakfast afterwards.the guys at the minyan were super nice to him and all came over and shook his hand–he felt like one of the guys…….