Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rite of Passage

Title: Rite of Passage

Topic: Bat Mitzvah

Relation: Week 11 discussion, "Identity Symbols"

Source: "Judaism about.com, http://judaism.about.com/od/lifeevents/a/What-Is-A-Bat-Mitzvah.htm, Jewdaism, http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/index.htm, Judaism: Virtual Library,  http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaism.html

Description: According to, "Judaism about.com" a Bat Mitzvah means "daughter of commandment." When a girl reaches the age of 12 she becomes a "bat mitzvah" and is recognized by Jewish tradition as now having the same rights as an adult. She is now held responsible for her own actions and choices. A ceremmony is held and after follows a celebration party. Bat Mitzvah's are traditionally new in the Jewish history. According to, "Judaism about.com" the first Bat Mitzvah ceremony was performed by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan in 1922 in America for his daughter.
In Reform and Conservative Jewish communities require the girl to prepare for a religous service. Usually, she studies with a Rabbi or a Cantor from as little to a couple of months to years. The role that the girl will play in the ceremony defers from each Jewish movement and synagogue, but it typically does include: leading specific prayers or leading a religous service etc. During the Bat Mitzvah the family is honored during the service with a (or many) aliyahs. A symbolic jesture is usually performed in which the Torah is passed down from the grandparents to the parents and finally reaches the hands of the Bat Mitzvah. This is to "symbolize the passing down of the obligation to engage in the study of Torah and Judaism"(Judaism about.com). The bat mitzvah marks the beginning of a lifetime of Jewish learning, study and participation in the Jewis community. Over the last couple of decades public celebrations of Bat Mitzvah's have become common also among Orthodox Jews but are not exacty as the Bat Mitzvahs that are celebrated by Reform and Conservative Jews. The party that follows the Bat Mitzvah is not tradition and is mostly celebrated by libral Jew and not Orthodox communities (Judaism about.com).

Analysis: After reading about the history of a Bat Mitzvah it sounds like a good idea to celebrate when a child becomes an adult. In the Jewish religion it is 12 for a girl. In the United States a child becomes an adult at age 18. I think that it is important to celebrate when a person has come to a point in their life in which they are now an adult and can make their own decisions.

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