The Stages of Life in Judaism

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Judaism finds its expression throughout the year at all major stages of an individual’s life. Here we will present the major religious events in a Jew’s life, the rituals and the rights of passage that accompany men and women from birth to death.

  1. Circumcision: Following the model of Abraham’s covenant through circumcision, all males are circumcised.

  2. Coming of Age: After circumcision, the next right of passage for all Jewish children is the coming of age. That is, the assuming of all of the obligations of an adult.

  3. Marriage: In Judaism, marriage is the normal and highly preferable state of life for adults. God’s love for Israel was commonly compared to marital relations.

  4. Divorce in Judaism: The fact that the groom writes the Ketubah is really a reflexion of an asymmetric relationship between husband and wife in historical Judaism. It was the husband’s prerogative to divorce his wife. The wife could not equally divorce her husband.

  5. Death and Burial Ceremonies in Judaism: Ideally, a dying person should recite the Shema and confess his or her sins before death.