In the ‘coming of age’ and the bar mitzvah, there are many similarities. The coming of age is when a thirteen year old Indian girl becomes and thirteen year old women and the bar-mitzvah is when a thirteen year old boy becomes and thirteen year old man. These are through religious ceremonies. The commonality of these growing experience for the two different religion is amazing. Especially that the American Indian religion is a primal religion and the Jewish faith is a major religion. I will be discussing the symbols that make them similar, also including the high points of the ceremony and the low points. I will be doing this through the five step process given in “teaching and learning Religion” written by T. Lovat.
The Entry is the first on the five tiered scale and for the to the entries the thirteenth birth. The birth day tells when the man and the woman are ready to mature. This maturing symbolises that they are adults in the community and the have to act like adults. Now neither are treated as if they were children now they are part of the say of what goes on in the community. The preparation for the Indian is that the parents weaves a rug that she must dance on and in the Jewish faith the parent either buy or make a prayer cloth and a tephillin. Carrying on in the preparations the Indian learns secrets of the tribe and the white band is placed on her forehead to symbolize that she lives to a old age, also the oil keeps her safe from evil spirits. In the Jewish faith the boy learns Hebrew and learns to sign from the sacred scroll. These tell me that they are learning about the faith and what goes on in there community so the can be wise in their decision, and be knowledge-able of there past.
I believe that the center point and the most important can be broken up into the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning central point for the Indian is when the men dance around the ceremonial fire for five day to protect her from evil spirits, the to go on the fifth day the endurance test begin. That is the most important, that is saying she is strong enough to be part of the tribe. The end of the central point for the Indian has to be the songs the medicine man signs the her, revealing more secrets of the tribe. The Bar-Mitzvah also has different levels of the central point. the morning when the whole family goes for the shacharit is the beginning of the central point. Also included in the beginning is when the Cantor reads from the Torah. The central point is when the boy has to read in front of the synagogue, reading the Torah. The end of the central point is when the he ties the scroll up and paces It on the breast plate.
These cental points is when these two young people become a mature grown-up in their community. The whole dancing, and reading symbolise they are reading to become adults. The celebration is similar again, gifts and drinks will be shared and the whole reason that they are gather (family for the Jewish faith, tribe for the Indian) is to support them in their new life
The return is when the Indian has to dance around her parent tee-pee to see if she can stay, and the for the boy it is when he has to return and address the congregation. These are showing that they still have respect for the elders and still know that they are not as wise as the older people in the community. These two religious experiences are very similar and can be compared very easily. The five tiered structure is easy to be used on the to examples given. These two celebrations fit into the structure and can easily be defined as the central points where other celebration may not be.