There are a number of Jewish rituals which help adherents to connect with their faith and with God. Many of these are derived from traditional practices, or from the sacred texts. Jewish rituals include practices like circumcision, Bar mitzvah and the eating of kosher foods, as well as holidays and festivals like Passover. This is not a complete list of Jewish rituals, ceremonies and festivals, but is instead intended to introduce the most important parts of Jewish life.
Circumcision is an traditional Jewish practice dating back to ancient times. In Hebrew it is referred to as the Brit Milah. It was first used as a part of Jewish ritual practice is sealing Abraham's Covenant with God. It has continued as a Jewish ritual as a way of continuing the Covenant with God, and as a means of showing God that the child will be raised as a Jew. The circumcision ceremony is performed when the child is eight days old, by a specially qualified person called a mohel. It is usually held in a Synagogue, however in special circumstances it can be held within a home or a hospital. The circumcision is followed by a special celebratory meal, known as the seudat mitzvah.
A Bar Mitzvah (for boys) or a Bat Mitzvah (for girls) is a Jewish coming of age ceremony. Jewish law stipulates that a child is not subject to the Commandments, because they are ignorant of what they are doing. Once a child turns thirteen (for boys) or twelve (for girls) they are required to obey the commandments. The Bar or Bat Mitzvah recognises this change in a child's status. It is recognised in Jewish tradition as the transition from childhood to manhood. The Bar Mitzvah is a relatively modern institution, and is not discussed in the sacred texts. In ancient times, once a boy came of age he had to begin the study of the sacred texts. This practice remains today, with the child having to read a blessing on the Sabbath closest to their birthday. The elaborate ceremonies that usually accompany this are purely optional, and are in no way part of the Jewish tradition. The practices at a Bar Mitzvah are the same in all the movements of Judaism. However, the Bat Mitzvah differs within traditions. Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox movements have a different ceremony for girls, as they do not regard as being equal to booths in religious matters. Conservative and progressive Jews have the same ceremony for boys and girls.
The video below shows a Bar Mitzvah:
The video below shows a Bar Mitzvah:
The Sabbath is one of the oldest Jewish traditions. It is the traditional day of rest, and occurs on the seventh day of the week (Saturday, with the week beginning on Sunday). This references God's creation of the world in Genesis, after which he rested on the seventh day. Jews are forbidden to do any work on the Sabbath, as the day is intended to be one of prayer, reflection, and spending time with family.
Jewish dietary practices and customs are collectively known as 'kashrut'. Foods that are allowed to be eaten are referred to as being 'kosher.' These dietary practices stem from passages in the Torah and Talmud, and are based on Jewish ideas on purity. Jews are not allowed to eat certain meats, such as pork, camel, rabbit, as well as any animal that died of natural causes. Any animal that is eaten has to be ritually slaughtered in a particular way in order to be eaten. Only wine made under Jewish supervision is able to be consumed. Jews are also not allowed to consume meat with dairy at the same time. These dietary laws are intended to maintain the purity and cleanliness of a Jewish person.
The Passover Seder, or Passover Meal, is one of the most important Jewish ritual practices. It commemorates the 'passing over' of the Angel of Death, when the Jewish people were spared the slaughter of everyone firstborn male. The meal marks the beginning of the Passover holiday period. It consists of eating certain foods, including eggs, a paste of fruit and nuts, a vegetable and a roasted lamb or goat bone. These are served in a special arrangement (shown on the right) and particular prayers and readings are said before the meal is consumed