The Bar/Bat Mitzvah chants a portion of the Torah that corresponds with the date of the ceremony. Each day of the year has a Torah portion. For instance, the date August 27, 2005 had portion Ekev from Dueteronomy, while October 22, 2005 had portion Ki Tisah. Here is how an average Torah Portion looks after someone has worked on it: (some are longer or shorter, depending on the person's skill level and the temple in mind)
In order to learn their Torah Portion, people meet with a cantor, rabbi, tutor, or mentor who has experience in Hebrew to help them learn it. Why the colors, you ask? A Torah Portion is chanted, or sung, in an ancient tune that was made up a long time ago. Each color stands for a trope. Trope are melodies made up of a few Hebrew words. When you see the color, you know what tune to sing the words. There are also little symbols above the words (you can't see them here) that tell you which word in the phrase to sing. It's not easy work, but it feels great to know that you've learned how to chant and pronounce a long page of text in another language.
Text, pictures, and background by: Zettie S.