A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person’s transformation from one stage in their life to the next. For Jewish people, Bar and Bat Mitzvah is an important rite of passage marking a girl’s or boy’s transformation from a child to adult, traditionally age 12 for a girl and 13 for a boy.
Jewish people celebrate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs differently in countries all around the world. In the UK, families traditionally celebrate after the synagogue service with a large party in the evening for friends and family.
Now watch this clip from The Bar Mitzvah Boy – you may wish to view it more than once. As you watch, try to identify the main stresses
for the characters. How is this similar and/or different to discussions in your family about a big, family celebration (eg. a baby blessing, a Bar Mitzvah, a wedding?)
© All rights reserved BBC Motion Gallery; written by Jack Rosenthal; reproduced courtesy of all actors appearing in sequence.
Talk to your parents, grandparents and/or senior family members. Did they have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? If so, what do they remember about it? Were there arguments in the planning for it? What made the day special?
If no-one in your family had a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, what other rite of passage can they remember? Perhaps, a wedding? Or the birth of their first child transforming them into a parent for the first time? How did they celebrate this memorable event? What are their most vivid memories of the day? Use this worksheet to help you organise your ideas.