History of Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation

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Adult Bar Mitzvahs

As early as the 1950s, there were intimations that men who had not had a bar mitzvah during adolescence felt Jewishly incomplete. In 1971, the first "belated" bar mitzvah was held and soon, as part of the movement for gender equality in Judaism, women also began participating in this new ceremony of adult identity affirmation. Either individually or in groups, men and women studied for a period of time and then ceremonially reaffirmed their connections with Judaism at a Shabbat morning service. Synagogues began to institute more formal programs of study that enabled not only women, but also men and converts, to study about Jewish history, text, liturgy, and ritual, and to learn to read Hebrew and chant from the Torah and haftarah.

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