Bar Mitzvah: A Jewish Boy's Coming of Age

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9780140369755: Bar Mitzvah: A Jewish Boy's Coming of Age

The creators of Days of Awe: Stories for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur answer questions about the bar mitzvah, discussing the rituals of a Jewish boy's coming of age, their meaning, the origins and history of the ceremony, and real-life bar mitvah experiences. Reprint. SLJ.

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From Booklist:

Gr. 5-7. A scattering of stories, sayings, and parables allows the author's folktale expertise to peek through in this exploration of a Jewish boy's ceremonial entry into adulthood. Kimmel imparts basic information about Judaism, including some comparisons between Judaism and Catholicism and Islam, and discusses ritual objects, important texts, the Shabbat service, and the actual responsibilities of the bar mitzvah child. The vivid impact traditionally left by the ceremony is made clear through several short interviews (including one with a person whose entry into manhood during the Holocaust was marked by his killing an enemy) and through a fine, dramatic you-are-there chapter that positions the reader before a congregation as the principal in the big event. The last chapter explores how bar mitzvah customs and practices have changed, the final link in a book that goes beyond the ceremony itself to instill a sense of the commitment at its heart: "Bar mitzvah is not just about becoming a man. It is not even about becoming a Jew. It is about becoming a human being." Kimmel's main audience, of course, will be the young person with some prior Jewish education who's looking forward to his bar mitzvah, but readers simply curious about Jewish traditions will find lots of information ably presented. A companion book for girls, to be written by Barbara Diamond Goldin, is forthcoming. Glossary. Stephanie Zvirin

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-8?Certainly, this is a book for every pre-bar mitzvah boy to read, but it is also a book for anyone who wants to learn about the beliefs, philosophies, and history of the religion. Kimmel describes the reason for the coming-of-age ceremony; what happens before and during it; and its origins and transformations throughout Jewish history. The author, in his informal, warm, conversational style, clarifies some esoteric facts about the sacred books of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims and looks at the similarities and differences in the three religions. Folklorist that he is, he has incorporated anecdotal material (including a poignant account by his father), rabbinic stories, and folktales into the narrative. Weihs's stylized, full-and half-page black-and-white scratchboard illustrations capture individuals and many of the traditional symbols and ritual objects associated with the ceremony. This is a livelier and more comprehensive treatment than Howard Greenfeld's Bar Mitzvah (Holt, 1981; o.p.), which deals thoroughly with bar mitzvah but not with the history or philosophical ramifications of Torah and prayer, nor with the ceremony's relationship to the ancient Temple service. Kimmel's title is likely to become a classic.?Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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