Bar/bat mitzvah parties so dominate the social lives of teens in New York City that, according to a New York Times article, non-Jewish families are holding "faux mitzvahs" for their envious offspring. What is a bar/bat mitzvah supposed to be? How did it end up like this? Read our overview to learn more, and check out the many new ways families are meaningfully enhancing their bar/bat mitzvah celebrations.
As part of bar mitzvah training, boys should brush up against some of the “traditional” values that have defined Jewish men—a love of communal learning and debate, an understanding of the powerful role that comedy plays in coping with oppression, a responsibility to bury one another and to mourn together. Even in egalitarian communities, there are times when men benefit specifically from the support of other men.
Life cycle rituals are not fixed experiences—even when the text and ceremony stays the same.