Following the cluster of life cycle ceremonies and issues that surround the birth of a Jewish child, we move forward to the next major turning point that cultures tend to see as a reason for celebration. This period of transition occurs around adolescence, as the child is first regarded as someone with more responsibilities, whose place in society is to be measured in terms of approaching adulthood - rather than of disappearing childhood. Almost all traditional cultures have chosen to mark this transition in ceremonies of significance, replete with symbolic ritualistic statements, and the Jewish tradition is, naturally, no exception.
This section addresses the central ritualistic ceremony in Judaism - the Bar Mitzvah ceremony - and its younger, attendant sister ceremony - the Bat Mitzvah. We will explore the meaning of the ceremony in Judaism and examine a number of significant issues that come out of the ceremony. This is followed with text and activity sections to enable the issues to be examined in depth, in an educational setting.