Bar Mitzvah Ritual

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Anthropology

Document 1

’ The ritual is an intrinsic feature of this religion practice and it is conducted on boys coming of age. The boys celebrating their 13th birthdays are welcomed into adulthood according to the Jewish laws. It is at this age that the boys become answerable for their actions. They also acquire the right to take part and counted in a ‘Minyan’ or prayer quorum. He can also be allowed to lead a religious service, testify in court and sign a contract. I observed this ritual in the Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. It was on a morning of Saturday 15th day of September this year. Usually, such rituals take place in the first Saturday after the 13th birthday (Morgan, 2015). However, the ceremony can also take place on Mondays and Thursdays. These are the days that the Jews read the Torah in the synagogues. II. Ritual Description Bar Mitzvah which also means ‘son of commandment’ is the ritual that I observed. The ritual is kind of a celebration that is done in a synagogue by adherents of Judaism religion (Korber, 2017). In the synagogue, people were dressed very decently as most men put on a suit and ladies put on dresses that did not show much of their legs nor chests. The women and their children were on the upper part of the synagogue. Even the boy to be a Bar Mitzvah was dressed in a suit and tie. He also had a bowl-like hat on his head known as kippah or Jewish skullcap.

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Most of the men in the room had put it on as well. I observed the ritual starting by a boy, who is the Bar Mitzvah being handed the Torah from his generations. He was then called up and went to the reading platform or where the service took place. The boy closes the Torah and grasp both handles in the process of reciting the blessing. The boy was then assigned his section after reciting the torah blessing. He then touched the Tallit to the Torah, kissed it and recited the second blessing. He also chanted a section from the biblical prophets known as Haftarah. After the boy had done the reading, he was then greeted with numerous flying candies from all over the synagogue room. The boy gave a short speech about himself, the assigned torah portion and thanked everyone for making the ritual take place.

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The boy started by welcoming all who had attended the event. He the expanded on the readings of that day. He then described how he connected with the lesson and how much the ceremony meant to him. His speech was full of excitement proven in his voice and eyes as well. When I asked about the importance of the party, they just told me that it is tone for their occasion, but not a must thing to do. They celebrated their boy’s beginning of a new phase in his life. He had become a bat mitzvah. He was now an adult in the Jewish community. In the event of celebrating this rite of passage with the party, family and friends gave gifts and presents to the boy. Everyone was moved by his speech and recitation.

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The boy invited a number of his relatives and close family members to light a candle separately. Each person that was called on the stage to light a candle had their own choice of song upon entering the stage. It was a nice session. Everyone seemed very happy and contented. All the invited guests, family and friends that were present danced in the celebration for the remaining time. In the midst of all these celebrations, I found some time to interview the father, the boy and some few other people who attended the ritual. I asked the boy how he got his confidence from since he seemed composed especially in the synagogue service. The boy told me that he had prepared for the event for about a year and he had received thorough lessons from a teacher or rabbi.

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He told me that he had learned the prayers that are supposed to be done in a Shabbat morning service and all other teachings. There are stated days of the week that the Bar Mitzvah ritual can take place. Wallace would classify the ritual as a rite of passage since it only done to boys who have reached the stated age. Also, it involves the stages of passage which are separation, transition and incorporation. In separation, the Bar Mitzvah is now separated from the group of younger boys as he is considered mature to be responsible for his action. In the transition stage, the bot moves from the age of childhood to adulthood. When he was given gifts, most people gave him money in the multiples of 18. The number eighteen is the numerical equivalent or symbolized the word life.

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Therefore, giving money in the multiples of eighteen symbolizes giving life also known as ‘chai. ’ The Kippah which is worn on the head by men from the Judaism religion after they become bar mitzvah. It symbolizes that they are keeping their covenant with God as it reminds them of the presence of God who is above them. The Shabbat Candles in also among the many items that are gifted to boys who become Bar Mitzvah. They symbolize harmony and light and used on a Shabbat making it a holy day. The dancing that occurred in the Bar Mitzvah celebrations symbolized joyfulness and happiness as everyone expressed those feelings. V. Ritual Specialist The Ritual specialist, which is the rabbi leads all the activities that take place in the synagogue. I think it was because of the meditation that took place.

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His father seemed to be moved by his son’s becoming an adult. The prayer that the father said to thank God from being relieved from responsibilities of the boy’s sin also acted as one state. The type of altered state of consciousness in this sense was the religious ecstasy. Also, when people were served with the wine and bread there was altered state of consciousness. The view of afterlife in Judaism is almost not existing as they believe on living a good life on earth (Morgan, 2015). They pray three times daily in a synagogue. They celebrate Sabbath and this world view is the reason for the Bar Mitzvah ritual mainly to take place on a Shabbat. VIII. Conclusion In conclusion, the experience to be part of the Bar Mitzvah ritual was very good.

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I heard it was referred to as a seudat mitzvah. It looked more like a wedding celebration. References BBC. BBC - Religions - Judaism: The Synagogue. Retrieved from http://www. Klement, K. R. Ambler, J. K. Loewald, T. pone. Morgan, M.  L. Spinoza’s Afterlife in Judaism and the Task of Modern Jewish Philosophy.  Oxford Handbooks Online. Bat Mitzvah Parties in Israeli Culture.  Modern Judaism, 36(3), 335-356. doi:10. mj/kjw015.

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