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Rites and rituals have existed since the beginning of time in all cultures. They are defined as rituals or ceremonies that surround milestone events in a person’s life such as birth, coming of age, reproduction and death. Other rites of passage may celebrate transitions that are wholly cultural, marking changes in social position, occupation or social affiliation. Whether they take place in a secular or religious context, such rites serve a similar function. They symbolically mark the passage of an individual from one phase of life, or social status, to another.

Rites of passage can be considered universal, as all societies have their own way of marking a transition from one phase of life to another. The Jewish customs and rites studied in this activity may be different from a person’s own experiences. Nevertheless, participants may be able to identify commonalities between their own social, cultural or religious identity and the rites explored in this activity.

This activity was designed to help participants identify and explore the range of rites and rituals that may be part of the lifecycle events of Jewish people. It is also interesting to note that some of the rituals described may be considered an obligation within Judaism.

You can download the activity here.