Essay on Judaism and Jewish daily Life

Submitted By Janae-Hildreth
Words: 1783
Pages: 8

The Comparing and Contrasting of Rites of Passage

The development of cultures, traditions and rites of passage take place all over the world, and in many different social settings. When an attempt to compare two very different cultures occurs we must try to understand their practices. The ultimate focus of this essay is to compare and contrast the rites of passage practices between the Jewish Hebrew and the Japanese. The Jewish culture originated in the Middle East, near Israel. People of Jewish decent often speak Hebrew or Arabic. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish culture. It is the mother-faith from which Islam and Christianity developed. Belief in only one god is the basic principle of the religion. Jewish daily life can be different from other cultures in different ways. The people of the Jewish faith are not allowed to eat foods that are not kosher. Following the laws of kashrut is very important. Kashrut is a set of the Jewish religions dietary laws. In English this is also called kosher. The meat must be killed a certain way and not death by disease or own will. All meats are washed before eaten to remove the blood. They believe that the blood of an animal is their soul and must never be consumed. Dairy and meats are not prepared or cooked together. The protein takes much longer to process so they wait hours before consuming dairy. This particular practice is done in order to ensure that one is not taking from an animal twice. (Bando, 2014) There are several rites of passage practices by people of the Jewish culture starting at birth and ending at death. Eight days after a male infant is born, a Brit Milah ceremony takes place. The child is then circumcised and receives his Hebrew name. The rite of passage for a female infant is different. The only recognized rite of passage is naming of the baby called Simchat Bat. Once a Jewish boy turns 13, a Bar Mitzvah is held to celebrate. For a Jewish girl, a Bat Mitzvah is held at the age of 12 or 13 depending on the branch of Judaism. A Bat or Bar Mitzvah is held to celebrate the youth entering adulthood. Once the celebration has taken place, the parents are no longer responsible for the actions and performance of the child in the eyes of God. The next recognized rite of passage in the Jewish culture is marriage. The people do not exchange vows or a ring during the time of engagement, only during the marriage ceremony. The next recognized rite of passage in the Jewish culture is marriage. The couple does not exchange vows or a ring during the time of engagement, only during the marriage ceremony. In the original Jewish culture, marriage is called Kiddushin which means sanctification. "The word sanctification indicates that what is happening is not just a social arrangement or contractual agreement, but a spiritual bonding and the fulfillment of a mitzvah, a Divine precept. Dedication indicates that the bride and groom now have an exclusive relationship that involves total dedication to each other, to the extent of them becoming, as the Kabbalists state, "one soul in two bodies". (Bando,2014) There are multiple stages to a Jewish wedding, the first being the shidduch. The shidduch is the process in which one finds a life partner. Close relatives or friends who think they would be compatible usually set up the two. They must be physically attracted to one another but are not allowed physical contact until after married. If the two decide to marry, the families will gather and meet, some will sign contracts determining the wedding date and other details. The bride and groom spend the week prior to the wedding apart. "On the Sabbath that precedes the wedding day, the groom is called up in the synagogue to read from the Torah". For the female, "prior to the wedding day, the bride is required to visit the mikveh, the ritual bath, and immerse herself, to ensure a purified spiritual state as she prepares herself for married life.