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Lifecycle Mitzvot

Find out the Jewish take on lifecycle events, from birth through bar and bat mitzvah, as well as death and grieving the Jewish way.

Pregnancy Dues
The physical development of the embryo mirrors its spiritual counterpart. The expecting mother's spiritual choices have lifelong effects on the developing new life...
Jewish Birthday
The day you were born was the day you became your very own person—no longer just a watermelon in your mommy’s tummy. That’s why it’s a day to ponder: What have I accomplished by being here?
Jewish Names
Name Calling
The who, what, when and where of Jewish names and the naming ceremony.
The Eternal Covenant
The Jew is bound with a covenant engraved deep beneath his conscious self, even on his very flesh: a timeless bond G‑d established with his father Abraham.
Pidyon Haben
Firstborn Son for Sale!
Ever since the Golden Calf debacle, all male Israelite firstborn must redeem themselves in a pidyon haben ceremony from a descendant of Aaron, a.k.a a kohen.
The Upsherin
A Boy's First Haircut
At the age of three, children’s education takes a leap—they are now ready to produce and share their unique gifts. For a Jewish boy, this transition is traditionally marked with a haircutting ceremony.
Jewish Education 101
Raising Jewish Children
According to biblical law, a child is not obligated to observe mitzvot until reaching adulthood. Nevertheless, there’s a mitzvah of rabbinic origin for parents to train their children to do mitzvot and to avoid doing things that the Torah forbids.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Coming of Age
A child is a child. Perhaps bright and knowledgeable—yet still lacking the maturity that distinguishes the adult from the child. Around the age of 12 for a girl, 13 for a boy, that sense begins to kick in.
The Path to Marriage
Dating the Jewish Way
The natural compulsion to marry expresses a deep soul-ambition: its desire to reconnect with its other half. Body and soul reach completion when they are reunited with their other half.
The Jewish Wedding
Soul Fusion
A Jewish wedding is a tapestry woven from many threads: biblical, historical, mystical and legal. Threads forming a chain of Jewish continuity which goes back more than 3,800 years . . .
Ground Control
When a child brings more light and holiness into this world, the parent’s soul climbs higher. Reciting kaddish is one such powerful tool of light . . .
The Jewish Funeral
After a loved one passes away it is a mitzvah to arrange for their body to be laid to rest in a Jewish cemetery in accordance with age-old traditions.