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CEREMONIES



Published: Sat, July 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



CEREMONIES

Recent changes

Under Jewish law, at age 13 (12 for girls), children become obligated to observe the commandments -- not just the Ten Commandments but all 613 commandments set forth in the Torah.

"Bar Mitzvah," the ceremony that marks the assumption of that obligation by Jewish boys, literally means "son of the commandment." The Bar Mitzvah ceremony formally marks the assumption of the obligation to observe the commandments, along with the right to take part in leading religious services, to count in a minyan (the minimum number of people needed to perform certain parts of religious services), to form binding contracts, to testify before religious courts and to marry.

The modern "Bar Mitzvah" ceremony is fairly recent, Cantor Susan Deutsch says. Actually, a Jewish boy automatically becomes a Bar Mitzvah at his 13th birthday, with or without the party.

During Shabbat services shortly after the boy's 13th birthday, he is called to the Torah to recite a blessing over the weekly reading.

Girls began to celebrate a "Bat Mitzvah" in 1922, although the practice was not popular until recent years, Deutsch says.

The 10 women who celebrated a Bat Mitzvah at Heritage Pointe (one woman who studied for the event was too ill to attend) also mirrored the typical American Bar Mitzvah ceremony.




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