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"It strengthens the Jewish family to share religious rituals at home" - Discuss.

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Introduction

C) "It strengthens the Jewish family to share religious rituals at home". The Jewish calendar holds a number of different festivals and celebrations. These include Shabbat, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, all of which have a great importance in the history of Judaism. These are holy days where time is spent both in the synagogue and the home, most often with family and friends. Most of the celebrations include a special meal and specific rituals for the family to take part in. These are often traditional and have been practised for thousands of years. Sharing these rituals are said to strengthen Jewish families, however there are people who disagree. Celebrating these occasions with the family and making them happy, enjoyable and strengthening times would be difficult and upsetting for a family that have recently lost a loved one. All the pretence happiness and smiles could make the occasion seem false and unhelpful to those who are mourning. As many of these festivals are commandments there is added pressure to take part in them. The family would not enjoy themselves and it seems somewhat unfair to push the event upon them. ...read more.

Middle

The Torah tells Jews to celebrate on these occasions and some of them are commandments or mitzvoth and failing to share them is disobeying God's will. Through sharing in the rituals Jews are showing their dedication to the will of God; they are performing actions prescribed by him. Each of the religious rituals relates to a significant event in Jewish history and this greatly adds to their importance. Jews' ancestors have performed the rituals for thousands of years; they link Jewish families to their origins. As these rituals are special to Jews it brings them closer to their families as they experience them. Sharing the religious rituals in their homes is a way of inviting God and their Jewish history into their house. The Shabbat preparations provide the family with an opportunity to work together, it has been said that Judaism is 'learnt by doing' and children help by cleaning and tidying the house. The meal that is shared at home allows the family to spend time alone together enjoying each other's company, with nobody rushing off to do other things. ...read more.

Conclusion

After their Bar Mitzvah Jewish boys may read from the Torah, this ritual reading of the Torah links Jewish boys across time and space and is considered a real privilege. Bat Mitzvah is a girl's passage to womanhood, once she is a woman she becomes responsible for observing the commandments. This is an important responsibility because in the future the woman will need to play a part in teaching her own children about Judaism and the rituals that must be performed. It appears highly probable that these rituals do strengthen Jewish families both within their faith, and amongst each other. Personally, I think that it does strengthen individual Jewish families to share religious rituals in the home, although the synagogue is also important for strengthening the larger Jewish family. I can understand why some people would question the value of these rituals for the family unit if they were not Jewish but I think the memories of sharing these special events with loved ones will be with a Jew throughout their whole life. I therefore think that a Jew would agree with this statement, viewing the performance of religious rituals as bringing their individual families together and the Jewish community together as a whole. 1 ...read more.

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