The next step in embracing your heritage and culture is to learn about the rituals, rites, and traditions unique to your religion and culture.Everything is celebrated in Jewish culture from birth to death, and they honour the person who lived it and the entirety of life.
Rituals are important and respected in many cultures, and it is a way of offering a warm invitation into their world.
Religious rituals known as rites of passage commemorate a person’s path from one stage of life to another.
Jewish customs that go back to biblical times and that have developed following regional traditions and Halakha (the power of laws and ordinances that have existed since the time of the Bible to regulate Jewish religious observances, daily life, and behaviour) mark important moments in a Jew’s life.
The Bible mentions rites of passage, including Brit Milah, Bat Mitzvah, and Bar Mitzvah. The evolution of weddings and funerals has mobilized rites of passage, such as marriage and death, and each has its rituals.
Rites of passage have occasionally been connected to other biblically inspired rituals, such as festivals and pilgrimages.
Birth and Baptism
The birth of a child is a reason for joyful celebration in every culture.
Brit Milah Jews have a religious duty to remember God’s covenant with Abraham by getting circumcised.
Brit Bat/Simchat Bat
Ashkenazi Jews have a long-standing custom where the father is invited to the synagogue on the first Shabbat following the birth of his daughter to receive an aliyah (the privilege of reading the blessings before and after a section of the public Torah reading), after which the baby’s name is announced.
Baptism in the Jordan River is a priceless rite of passage because it welcomes you into your heritage, helps you embrace it, and connects you to your ancestors, making you feel closer to them.
Coming of age
Jewish life became characterized by the textual world of the Torah and its changing interpretations, and the entrance of male and female children constituted a significant passage.
Jewish law holds parents responsible for their children’s actions up to this time.
These rituals mark the passage from childhood to adulthood, which includes accepting personal accountability for one’s behaviour and having more significant Jewish obligations.
Bar Mitzvah “Son of the Commandment”
At the age of 13, boys have their Bar Mitzvah. Once they reach adulthood, they are accountable to God for their sins.
When it comes to religious practice, a boy who has turned Bar Mitzvah is responsible for the same duties, obligations, and benefits as an adult.
On the first Sabbath following the boy’s 13th birthday, the ceremony takes place in the synagogue. After the ceremony, the boy’s father acknowledges that his son is now prepared to accept accountability for his own conduct.
Bat Mitzvah “Daughter of the Commandment.”
At the age of twelve, girls get their Bat Mitzvah.
Regarding the Torah readings, the ceremony is identical to that for boys and is performed on the Sabbath in the Temple.
The readings typically include a statement of commitment, a reading from the Bible, and other texts that discuss the obligations and responsibilities of the Jewish woman.
Jewish law stipulates two steps in the marriage process:
- Kiddushin: The Betrothal
- Huppah: The Canopy
Kiddushin, which means “sanctification,” is the name for a Jewish marriage (when something is holy or sacred). Shabbat, holidays, and mourning times are prohibited for Jewish weddings.
Wedding Canopy: The couple is taken by their parents to stand underneath the Huppah wedding canopy. It represents the Tallit (prayer shawl) and the home they will build together.
Marriage Contract: Instead of exchanging vows, the bride and groom sign the marriage contract, or ketubah, in the presence of two witnesses after the Rabbi has read it to them.
Two different kinds of contracts exist:
- The Orthodox: It outlines the groom’s duties in the marriage. It doesn’t have any promises from the bride in it. It is meant to give her security in the future.
- The Reform: It refers to shared responsibility and partnership within the marriage.
Smashing The Glass
The wedding ritual concludes with seven blessings recited over the wine and asking God to bless the bride and husband. There is a prayer for Zion (Jerusalem) as well.
The groom then stomps on the wine glass to break it as a memory of the Temple’s destruction in 70CE after the bride and groom take another taste of the wine.
As a sign of respect, a Jewish person’s funeral must be held as quickly as possible (often within 24 hours) after death. On Shabbat or the start or last days of festivals, though, they are prohibited.
A group of honourable men and women offered their services to help with funeral arrangements, wash and prepare the body for burial, and attend to the sick and the deceased.
When the Kaddish is said following the funeral, mourning begins.
At a parent’s funeral and every day for the following eleven months, children must recite the Kaddish.
The Kaddish focuses on the name of God, asking that people recognize its sacredness.
The grieving declares that even though they have lost a loved one, God is still their God, and they still acknowledge him as the supreme being in charge of the universe.
Shiva, which means “seven” in Hebrew, is a term for the seven days following a funeral that do not include Shabbat.
Leave the Planning to the Experts
Want to learn more about these rituals and rites of passage or experience them yourself or with your family? Get in touch with ITAS Tours and talk with one of our advisors to find out more and start planning your next trip to Israel.
With ITAS Tours, your only concern will be enjoying the festivities and the parties. Israel Travel Advisory Service will create the perfect Custom, Family, and Jewish Israel Tour with more than 50 years of providing the highest quality tours in Israel, bringing families and their friends together to explore their rich heritage.