Because of the ability to interpret and modernize the Judaic texts, Judaism has been able to grow, adapt, and develop throughout this ever-changing world.
Jewish people around the world pray in synagogues. It is not mandatory to pray in a synagogue, but the Torah, which is a necessity for some services, is housed in the synagogue. It is also considered meritorious to pray communally with a group of more than ten individuals. Jewish people are commanded to pray three times a day to mark the cycle of the day. Each prayer service has some common prayers and others that are unique to the particular service.
Judaism teaches that sins can be absolved through atonement and repentance. Every year Jewish people have the opportunity to absolve their sins and begin anew during the High Holy Days. During this time, individuals focus on asking forgiveness from other people and from God.
The Jewish Cycle of Life
Judaism involves numerous rituals and ceremonies that unite the generations. The Jewish rites of passage begin with birth. Once a child is born, he or she is entered into the Jewish covenant with God. Boys are ritually circumcised (brit milah) eight days after birth. Both boys and girls receive Hebrew names – boys at circumcision and girls at a naming ceremony.
The second rite of passage occurs around the age of twelve or thirteen when young adults become Bar or Bat Mitzvah. This life cycle event signifies the transition from childhood to adulthood in the eyes of God and the Jewish community. Typically, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is required to read from the Torah in front of his or her community and to participate in other aspects of the service. In the Orthodox denomination, girls do not read from the Torah but give a talk based on the weekly Torah portion.