The Bar Mitzvah

This paper examines the social & religious history and development of the Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage into manhood.

The purpose of this research is to examine the history and development of the Bar Mitzvah, a traditional, yet continuously evolving, ceremony of contemporary Jewish life. Representation, perhaps, of such evolution is found in Hayyim Schauss’ definitive 1938 work, The Jewish Festivals, from their beginnings to our own day, when he spells the term, Bar Mitsvoh. This research will also concern itself with the religious, or philosophic, importance of the ceremony as well as noting some of the differences in observance among Orthodox, Reform and Conservative factions.

By current standards of communicative effectiveness, the term Bar Mitzvah might be defined as a password. Most stand-up comics working Miami and/or the Catskills understand that a special rapport can be achieved with a Bar Mitzvah joke.

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