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Initiation Rites in Judaism
The Ceremony

What goes on during the bar mitzvah ceremony?

Though there is much preparation put into the actual celebration of the bar mitzvah, the transition to responsibility is automatic.  It does not depend on any special initiation rites (Trepp 241).  Six months prior to the ceremony, the boy begins to wear the Tefflin under the supervision of his father.  The tefflin is a series of clothing accessories worn by Jews during the minyan.  The boy celebrates his bar mitzvah on the day after his 13th birthday.   According to Trepp, the ceremony takes place in a synagogue.  The rabbi calls the soon to be bar mitzvah to the altar, so he can read a few of the sacred scrolls.  If the boy in question is a prodigy in the Talmud (Trepp 243), or Jewish law, he is allowed to lead several parts of the services including the blessings.  After reading the Torah, the adolescent delivers a short speech on the importance of the ceremony.  Afterwards, the bar mitzvah now receives a charge from his rabbi and the blessing (Trepp 244).   

Praeger Publishers.  Copyright 1975

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