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Initiation Rites in Judaism
Is Anyone Excluded?


Are People Actually Excluded From This Initiation?

Depending on the sect of Judaism Jews practice, some people are excluded in participating in such rituals.  Judaism is one of the few religions that are made up of a people according to B. Barry Levy Ph.D.  There are only two ways a person is recognized as a Jew.  One is through birth.  Once a Jewish woman bares a child, the child is considered to be jewish.  The other way is through conversion, in which if a male decides to convert to Judaism, he must be circumcised.  Thus, it makes the bar mitzvah celebration exclusive to the Jewish people. Orthodox Jews do not have any initiation ceremonies for women.  Through personal experience, once a person visits a Orthodox Jew synagogue, one notices that women and men are completely separated.  This is because the Jewish law states that in order to focus more on the scriptures and teachings, men women must be separated.  Thus, it makes the minyan a prayer ceremony held specifically for males.


In non-orthodox Jewish congregations, women are more active and present. Girls celebrate their coming of age in a ceremony called the bat mitzvah.  Some of the differences between the celebration between males and females are that girls celebrate the bat mitzvah on their twelfth birthday, rather than their thirteenth like boys do.  Another is that though orthodox Jews do not make a big deal of a girls coming of age, it does recognize it.  Women receive only a blessing and are not called up to the torah.  In the reformed synagogues, girls are allowed to go up to the torah and read the scriptures.