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Everything I Know About Bar Mitzvahs

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/celebrations_simchas/article/everything_i_know_about_bar_mitzvahs_20020111

Many Native American parents, in an adolescent rite of passage, send their teenage sons on a solo journey, without food and with little water, into the wilderness. This is called a vision quest, and the child doesn't return until he is visited in a dream by his personal spirit. Often, this takes several days. We Jews, on the other hand, who are not called stiff-necked for nothing, insist not only on keeping our hormonally challenged teenagers at home, but also on presenting them to the entire Jewish community in an elaborate, expensive and anxiety-provoking ceremony. This is called a bar or bat mitzvah, and it signifies that our teenager has become an adult according to Jewish law, even though this child still cannot vote, drive or pick up his socks.

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