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Jewish Rituals and Practices
Bar Mitzvah celebrations.

Jewish Rituals and Practices

Jewish rituals and religious observances are grounded in Jewish law which is an intricate framework of divine “mitzvot” (commandments) that are combined with rabbinic laws and traditions. This is not just about religious life, but daily life in general, from how to dress, what one should or should not eat, to how to help the poor. Observance of this shows gratitude to God, provides a sense of Jewish identity and helps bring a little sanctification into everyday life.

1.
Jewish ‘communal’ functions such as a wedding or a bar mitzvah (13 year-old boy’s ‘coming of age’) where a meal is served to guests will have to be strictly ‘kosher’ (using only permitted ingredients cooked in the permitted way). Assisting these functions will be a person called a ‘mashgiach’. This is ....
the equivalent of a rabbinical ‘MC’ for the event
a food supervisor
an on-looking, non-participant, to keep the event in order
a Jewish security guard
The mashgiach (“supervisor”) is required whenever meat or fish is prepared or cooked for a group. They usually also check fresh eggs for blood spots before they are used in cooking, and have to inspect all vegetables for forbidden insects before use. A mashgiach, who is highly-trained in the ways of kosher food and kosher practices, may supervise at any type of food “service”. This could, at the bottom end be at a slaughterhouse, butcher or food manufacturer, and at the top end, a caterer, hotel, nursing home, restaurant or synagogue venue. The mashgiach works as the on-site supervisor and inspector, representing the policy decisions for what is or is not acceptably kosher for consumption
2.
Wine, in particular special ceremonial wine as opposed to popular branded wine drunk at the dinner table, is a part of Jewish celebrations. However, ceremonial wine is usually ....
poured into matching glasses for the immediate family members
poured into a special ceremonial cup
used only on the Sabbath
blessed and used only by the rabbi
It is usual to pour the wine into a "kiddush" cup, which is a special ceremonial cup for the purpose of sanctification. This cup may be made of silver, pewter, glass, or ceramic and is often decorated with Jewish motifs and 'joyous' designs. One of these cups is often given as a gift to the boy on his bar mitzvah (coming of age) or to wedding couples in celebration of their marriage. For those who do not drink wine, it is permitted to use pure grape juice
3.
Upon first hearing of the death of a close relative (parent, child, sibling or spouse), grief is traditionally expressed by ....
wailing and crying
tearing one's clothing
immediately attending the synagogue
calling for a rabbi to attend the immediate relatives
Mourning is observed by the immediate relative of the deceased for 30 days following the burial, very passionately so in the first seven days in the actual house of mourning (the primary house where either the deceased lived or in the house of the primary immediate relative). Regular remembrances are performed each year following the death, including the lighting of a memorial candle on the Jewish anniversary of the death and a short memorial prayer for the dead on some (not all) High Holy Days in synagogue during the year. A tear is made in a favourite piece of clothing (usually a jumper or cardigan) and this is worn by the immediate relatives (parent, child, sibling or spouse) during the week of mourning
4.
In order to become a rabbi (teacher), one has to be ....
18 years of age
unmarried
married
pass a special "rabbi test"
Marriage is strongly encouraged in Judaism and derives from the view of the home and family as the centre of religious life. Therefore, if a rabbi was single, he or she would know little of actual married life so would be unable to assist with marital concerns. However, the participation of a rabbi is not required in order for a marriage to be binding under Jewish law, providing everything is done correctly
5.
The white prayer shawl (the "tallit") worn in synagogue by Jewish males over 13 (bar mitzvah) and in some progressive synagogues, by females over 12, is worn ....
because traditionally, in days of old, synagogues tended to be cold and draughty
to remind Jews of God's Commandments
to show that although he may be learned and respected, the Rabbi is on an identical social level to that of his/her congregation
to cover the congregation's clothing so all appear equal in the eyes of God
The tallit is worn for morning (not afternoon or evening) prayer, during the week as well as on Shabbat and other holy days. Whoever leads the prayers in the synagogue always wears the tallit irrespective of the day or occasion. It is worn to remind all in the synagogue to observe all of God's commandments and to remind Jewish people that it was God who brought them out of the land of Egypt and to be their God. It is referred to in the Book of Numbers 15:37-41, the fourth of the Five Books of Moses
6.
Under Jewish law, while children are not required to observe the commandments, they are nevertheless encouraged and educated to do so. Under Jewish law, a boy and girl are considered an ‘adult’ when they ....
turn 13 and 12 respectively
turn 18 and 17 respectively
turn 21 and 20 respectively
get married
The boy has become a Bar Mitzvah, or "Son of the Commandments” at 13 and a girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah, "Daughter of the Commandments," upon turning 12. However, it doesn’t mean that Jewish law considers boys of 13 or girls of 12 ready to marry and become independent, even historically. The Talmud (Book of Jewish Learning and Law) states that 18 is the proper minimum age for marriage and 20 is the proper minimum age to start earning a living
7.
Nearly all the prayers in a traditional Orthodox Jewish service can be recited in solitary prayer, although communal prayer has always been deemed more preferred. However communal prayer requires a quorum - called a “minyan” - comprised of ....
5 people
8 people and a rabbi
10 men
12 men and a rabbi
In nearly all traditional Orthodox, and a few Conservative circles, only male Jews above the age of 13 (bar mitzvah) are counted toward a “minyan”. In other non-Orthodox Jewish communities, females do count towards the minyan. The ritual is from a biblical belief by the ancient sages that wherever 10 or more Jewish men are congregated for prayer, the Divine Presence “dwells amongst them”
8.
The Star of David, the six-pointed star that has come to symbolise Jewish people, was first used ....
in 1354
in 1650 when the Religious Society of Friends acquired the nickname "Quakers"
during the Second World War when the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a yellow star
in 1948 when Israel declared its independence
It was Emperor Charles IV of Czechoslovakia who first permitted the Jewish community to create its own flag and they chose the "shield of David" or "seal of Solomon" as it was popularly known then
9.
In Orthodox and Conservative services, men and women sit separately for prayer because ....
the male’s mind is supposed to be on prayer and not on women
two separate services run in the synagogue, one for men and one for women
to allow men to chat about men’s ‘stuff’ and women to chat about women’s ‘stuff’ without embarrassment in the eyes of God
an invention of a jealous, unmarried, senior community elder in Spain around 1,600AD that was later adopted world-wide
According to Jewish Law, men and women must be separated during prayer. This is usually either by a wall or curtain called a “mechitzah” or by women occupying the balcony or first-floor area of the synagogue. It was also because at the time Judaism was founded there were many pagan religious ceremonies which included much impropriety, and this separation allegedly discouraged that impropriety
10.
On the first Sabbath after a Jewish child is born ....
the male adults in the immediate family celebrate with a meal
the entire family celebrate with a meal
the family attend synagogue with the infant
the infant's father is called forward at the synagogue to recite a blessing
He then asks, through blessings, for the health of both mother and child. If the child is a girl, she is named during this service. However, boys are named on the eighth day following their birth, as part of the rite of circumcision

 

Author:  Ed Moss

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