Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I've been invited to my first ever Bat Mitzvah on Sunday.

I am ashamed to say that despite having visited most of the great cathedrals in Europe, that aside from a class in Comparative Religions in high school - I've never even been inside a synagogue.

Actually, since I've been actively avoiding the patriarchal dictatorship formerly known as the Catholic Church for the last 24 years, my religious affiliation could best be described as agnostic bordering on atheist.

That limits my religious involvement to that of a ceremonial observer. The time honored tradition of using religious doctrine to document and signify important milestones in lives: coming of age, weddings, and funerals. I also enjoy me some fine Little Italy street festivals in the summer.

It's fascinating when you think about it. Each religion has a different, yet completely documented script for each of these different ceremonies, including the major and minor roles, the dialogue, movements, and music. And yet while all accomplish exactly the same ultimate ending, each religion brings its own, unique culture and meaning to the performance at hand. So much so, that the sheer act of participating in such rituals gives people joy, pleasure, and comfort, and has done so for thousands and thousands of years.

Oh, and let's not forget the food. Just as each ceremony has its carefully prescribed liturgy to accompany it, so does each have its own unique cuisine, designed to compliment and honor the level of solemnity or celebration depending on the occasion.

Of course, the other unique cultural commentary that plays parallel to religious ceremonies of any faith is directly dependent on the wealth and social strata occupied by the person or families at the center of the ceremony.

So, with that in mind, I am looking forward to witnessing, and being part of, a ceremony and celebration, which if nothing else, will be a personally rewarding insight into another culture, and a great reminder of how important these ceremonies are to socialization and human nature.

Mazel Tov
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:12 AM  
2 Editorial Opinions:
  • At September 09, 2006, Blogger tfg said…

    If I was forced to pick an organized religion, I'd become Jewish.

  • At September 09, 2006, Anonymous Harish said…

    I am Jewish. I went to a Bar Mitzvah last weekend.

    When you go to a "Bat Mitzvah" you're not getting an insight into another "culture", you're getting an insight into another religion. There is a difference between a culture and a religion.

    There's lots of different Jewish cultures. There's American Reform Jewish culture (I'm guessing that this is what you're going to). There's American Hasidic Jewish culture. There's even a difference between, say, _Lubavitch_ American Hasidic Jewish Culture and _Satmar_ American Hasidic Jewish culture. There's Ashkenazic Jewish culture and Sepharadic Jewish culture. There's Moroccan Jewish culture, which I think is Sepharadic and not Ashkenazic. I could go on...

    On the other hand, there's just one Jewish religion. It happens to be the same religion a famous Rabbi (the Greeks call him "Jesus") preached 2000 years ago.

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