At what age do you think a person becomes an ‘adult?’ What makes a person an ‘adult?’ and not a child anymore? In the Jewish there are two answers to ‘when does a person become an adult?’ • A girl is recognised by the Jewish community as an adult when she reaches her twelfth birthday. • A boy has to wait a year longer before the Jewish community accepts that he has become an adult.
Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah To know that the entrance into adulthood is marked by a rite of passage in Judaism To know some of the rights & responsibilities relating to this rite of passage To reflect on the rights and responsibilities in our own lives
Bar Mitzvah • The 13th birthday of a young Jewish man is marked by a rite of passage called a Bar Mitzvah • What is a rite of passage again? • A process or occasion that we must pass through, that marks a point in our lives, e.g. Baptism, marriage or death
The Wonder Years • We are now going to watch an episode of the Wonder Years, an American TV series which was about a boy called Kevin, growing up in the 1960s • Things to look for: • Features of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony • Reasons Kevin might have for being jealous of his friend Paul (the boy who’s Bar Mitzvah it is)
Why might Kevin be jealous of Paul? • Party • Band • Girls • Presents • Money • Recognition of growing up • Passed down tradition through the family • Sense of community and family
When a boy reaches his thirteenth birthday, he is considered old enough to take personal responsibility for living out the commandments of the Torah in his own life. Until now his father has taken on the responsibility for his son’s spiritual welfare. But from now on he carries that responsibility himself.
From a very early age each Jewish boy is taught about he history of his religion, his religious faith and the Hebrew language. He is taught both at home by his father and in the synagogue by the rabbi.
The ceremony His Bar Mitzvah is a great and important day in the life of every Jewish boy. There are several parts to the celebrations:
A ‘calling up’ to the front during the synagogue service. It is always a great honour for a Jewish man to take part in a synagogue service. A boy is given this honour on his Bar Mitzvah. He can be invited to read from the Torah in public for the first time or to lead prayers.
The father’s blessing. The father gives thanks to God that his son has reached adulthood. Until now the father has accepted responsibility for his son’s spiritual welfare. Now the son must take that responsibility on himself. • “Blessed is the One who has freed me from the responsibility • for this child’s conduct.” • What do you think the word ‘blessed’ means? • Who is the ‘One’ referred to here? • What has the father been responsible for? • Who takes the responsibility from now onwards?
A gathering. Friends and relations coming together for a boy’s Bar Mitzvah. During the party after the service the boy makes a short speech. He thanks his parents and teachers for their influence on him.
From this time onwards a boy will wear two important objects which show that he is accepted as an adult member of the Jewish community. They are his tefillin and tallit. Why do you think this is the greatest day in the life of this boy so far?