Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bar Mitzvah, Part I

Monday and Thursday are busy days at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It is on these two days that boys perform the ceremony of the Bar Mitzvah. At the age of 13, according to Jewish tradition, a boy becomes a "Bar Mitzvah", a son of the commandment. At this point he becomes a man and binds himself to the keeping of the Torah. It is a rite of passage for all religious boys. Many secular Israeli boys also choose to participate in this ceremony.
From my vantage point, behind a wall, this is what I saw.

This is a really big deal for every young boy. Their families surround them and celebrate with them. There is even a man doing a professional video in the above picture.

When this young man entered the Western Wall plaza, his family came in playing drums, singing and dancing.

Again you see a professional video being made. The men in the family surround the boy to witness his reading of the Torah.

This Bar Mitzvah was going on just to the right of me. It is sweet to see the Father's and Grandfather's proudly watching their sons/grandsons prepare for and perform the ceremony.
These were the women of the family of the boy in the above picture. They were also watching proudly and with great excitement.There were also women lined along the wall to the left of me watching the festivities.
You can see in this picture all of the Bar Mitzvah's going on. Also notice the women lined up along the wall. They are standing on chairs in order to see their loved one. When each young man finished his ceremony you would see candy flying through the air and hear women singing. At times, the men would grab hands and dance in a circle singing a song in celebration. It is really a touching experience for both the young man, his family and on-lookers such as myself.

More to come in the following days!! I even have some video!


Kim Heinecke said...

Neat "right of passage" in that culture. Did I see Neil Diamond in those photos? couldn't resist.... you know, the song?...

Natalie Witcher said...

That is so cool! Such deep traditions, rites, holiness. Makes me a little jealous.

Kris the Girl said...

That? Is awesome. I love it! What a neat thing to experience!

Anonymous said...

This whole series of photos was very touchig.
Thank you,
me again, Josey