The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah by Nora Raleigh BaskinOne of the blurbs called this a modern Are You There, God? Its Me, Margaret, but other than having a main character whos entering puberty and uncertain about her religious identity, theres not much that the two have in common. Baskins verision of twelve-going-on-thirteen doesnt have the news flashes that made Are You There, God? required reading for my generation so that we could find out everything the adults werent telling us about feminine hygeine. (Baskin mentions bras, but not periods.)
The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah is really about the main characters warm relationship with her grandmother and how she handles her grandmothers death. The description of grief is well done and realistic. The story just doesnt add up to much. While part of the story involves long-standing family grudges - lots of people arent talking to lots of people - as soon as the narrator finds out about them, they seem to evaporate. In the end, theres very little for the main character to do. This one is only for kids who appreciate character-driven stories and denouments that are all about a moment of realization.
Bar and bat mitzvah
With a gentile father and non-practicing mother, Caroline has had little involvement with her grandmother's Jewish faith, but as Caroline mourns the loss of her beloved grandmother and watches her best friend, Rachel, approach her bat mitzvah, she realizes she must develop her own relationship with Judaism. A tenderly told story, this is more about family and identity than about theology. Caroline's ignorance about Judaism is pretty considerable "But hadn't there just been a Jewish holiday last week? That's a realistic transformation in the face of bereavement, and it's a warm and credible touch that Caroline's parents accept her new interest; there's another layer added by Caroline's discovery that her immigrant grandmother was considered to be "too Jewish" by her assimilated in-laws, further complicating Caroline's nascent investigation of religion. Caroline's situation will be familiar to many readers, and they'll warm to her growth and self-discovery. Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
The plural is b'nai mitzvah for boys, and b'not mitzvah Ashkenazi pronunciation: b'nos mitzvah for girls. According to Jewish law , when a Jewish boy is 13 years old, he becomes accountable for his actions and becomes a bar mitzvah. A girl becomes a bat mitzvah at the age of 12 according to Orthodox and Conservative Jews , and at the age of 13 according to Reform Jews. After this age, the boys and girls bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law , tradition , and ethics , and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life. Traditionally, the father of the bar mitzvah gives thanks to God that he is no longer punished for the child's sins.
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Sign up for our newsletters! For most children, cultural and religious identity is clear-cut; they are what their parents are.
Caroline's mom is Jewish, her dad isn't, and Caroline has never really thought of herself as any religion. But when her nana dies and leaves Caroline a Star of David necklace, Caroline begins to wonder about her heritage. If she starts going to synagogue, won't that upset her dad? Should she have a Bat Mitzvah like her best friend, Rachel? Does Caroline want to be Jewish?