Bar and Bat Mitzvah

These traditional coming-of-age ceremonies are religiously grounded, but they would be of enormous benefit even if they were entirely secular. In this day and age, where we infantilize young people well into maturity, a ceremony that hands the responsibility for their choices and actions over to them, appears to have its own self-evident benefit. It bestows upon them our faith in their capabilities and our trust in their ability to develop into mature, ethical human beings.

Doing this at the age of 12-13 is not in any way 'too early'. Far too many societies nowadays are in thrall to the notion that young people are ethically and morally incompetent. This is wrong, but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy; and indeed it does, right across all strata of, especially western societies.

This does not do young people any favors. Instead, it disempowers them. The world would be better off if this tradition, suitably secularized, were to become a universally accepted and practiced ritual. I suspect that it would in the long run change the face of our societies for the better.

For those potentially interested in considering me for the privilege of photographing their children's Bar / Bat Mitzvahs, please refer to my notes regarding weddings, because what I said there applies here, too.

I look forward to hearing from you.