Search results for: Shoham Hizky
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This article is an anthropological history of the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony in the Yishuv and Israel of the 1940s and the 1950s, when this ceremony radically grew in terms of the space, time, and economic resources devoted to it, as well as expanded to include girls. To explain that shift, I suggest distinguishing classic rites of initiation from the system of life-cycle ceremonies typical of modern consumer culture, which emphasizes the transition between temporal markers rather than social statuses and imposes no task on the birthday celebrant.
Updated: May. 16, 2018
“He had a Ceremony—I had a Party”: Bar Mitzvah Ceremonies vs. Bat Mitzvah Parties in Israeli Culture
This article analyzes the gender differences in what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies mean for the teens and their parents by surveying how they are depicted in popular Israeli culture since the mandate period until yesteryear. Relying on the classical anthropological assumption that ceremonies are a key to understanding a society, such a study can shed light on important aspects of the relationships between religion, consumer culture, and ethnic and national identity, on both individual and family levels. I will specifically argue that the gender difference in the popular depictions of bar and bat mitzvah discloses dominant patrilineal tendencies in current Israeli Judaism at the grassroots level.
Updated: Sep. 12, 2016
The article looks at the evolution of the bat mitzvah in the Yishuv (the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine) and Israel during the 1940s and after. It traces the event’s grassroots development as an expanded birthday party to mark a girl’s 12th birthday, copied from the bar mitzvah festivities for a boy of 13, but without the religious ritual. My argument is that the bat mitzvah is a classic product of the festive culture of the Industrial Age – a birthday party that combines the family rituals of the bourgeoisie with the cult of childhood. As such it developed independently of the world of the synagogue or Zionist ideology. Thus the story of the creation of the bat mitzvah and its naturalization by the festive culture of the Yishuv highlights the middle-class nature of the consumer society in Palestine in the mid-twentieth century and illuminates the influence of modern consumer culture on Jewish culture.
Updated: Mar. 06, 2016