Bat Mitzvah was held Saturday morning March
18, 1922 at the meeting house of the Society for
the Advancement of
Judaism at 41 West 86th Street in New York. Later that year the SAJ
15 West 86th Street, where it remains today.
Reconstructionist Jews consider it their first
synagogue, as it was founded and led by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan,
on whose ideology the movement is based, though
it is also affiliated with the Conservative
The Hebrew calendar date was Adar 16. The
Torah portion was Ki Tisa (Exodus
30:11-34:35). The young woman was Judith Kaplan,
the oldest of Kaplan's four daughters. She was
then 12 years and six months old.
Kaplan, who taught
at the Jewish Theological Seminary until his
retirement in 1963, wrote 27 bound volumes of diaries.
In 2010 the JTS library digitized these diaries.
They are now online.
We made use of this virtual treasure to show below the entry
Mordecai Kaplan wrote in his diary about a week
after the ceremony.
Kaplan never made a diary entry with the details
of the day. (Source:
Kaplan's biographer Professor Mel Scult in his
book "Communings of the Spirit" Volume
1, page 159). Scult's book includes some of
Judith Kaplan Eisenstein's recollections of her