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May 28, 2020

Dating traditions and rituals that are still followed today

Jewish traditions and rituals range from old-fashioned matchmaking to dating without any emphasis on religion at all. has helped us to make a brief overview of these traditions in the article below.

1 – Circumcision (covenant of Abraham)

To the uninitiated, circumcision is when the foreskin is cut off from the penis. There are medical reasons for this operation, such as reducing the risk of urinary tract infections. But from a religious point of view, this tradition has been a key aspect of Judaism for millennia. It was God who commanded the first circumcision, ordering Abraham to circumcise himself and the males of his family. In Hebrew, the ceremony is known as the ‘brit milah,’ (‘brit’ meaning covenant and ‘Milah’ meaning the act of circumcision.) Thus, the event is so much more than a medical act, it is a covenant, a sign of the Jewish connection to God. The circumcision is performed by a trained ‘mohel’ on the boy’s eighth day.


2 – Adulthood: Bat-mitzvah, bar mitzvah

Bar mitzvah is a ritual held on the first Sabbath after a Jewish youth’s 13th birthday, a rite of passage to signify he has reached the point in his life when he will be held accountable for his actions. For females, the corresponding ceremony is the not mitzvah, held after the 12th birthday. Once the subjects have gone through this, they must bear their responsibility for Jewish laws and traditions and are free to participate in all areas of Jewish community life. From this point onwards, a Jewish male is allowed to lead prayers for the family.

3 – Menstrual purification: Mikvah

Mikvah (or Mikveh) is a bath used as part of a ritualistic cleansing ceremony, to achieve purity. It can be used during the process of conversion to Judaism, for Jewish males after ejaculation, and commonly for women to achieve purity after menstruation or childbirth. The Mikvah is intended as a practical ‘bath’ solution to a process that more traditionally required ‘living water’ – water flowing from springs or wells. In Orthodox Judaism, women are required to immerse themselves after ‘niddah’ (menstruation) and sexual relations. Brides are also cleansed before a wedding.

4 – Shidduch

The practice of Shidduch is essentially an Orthodox Jewish form of matchmaking. Singles are introduced, not after seeking potential partners themselves, but after third parties have done some preliminary investigation regarding suitability. In terms of dating, Shidduch is only ever applied where the outcome is a marriage and will involve a variety of individuals with vested interests – parents, relatives, friends, and the prospective bride and groom. Inquiries will be made about the suitability of either party’s character, intelligence, financial status, family history, health, religious devotion, and so on. Some professionals charge for a shidduch, and the service is also available online. Following the initial investigations, a series of meetings will be arranged to further cement the degree of compatibility that exists between the couple.

5 – Marriage

While the ceremonies may vary, Jewish marriages follow age-old traditions and laws. Central to this process is the marriage contract (ketubah), signed in the presence of two witnesses. The ceremony traditionally takes place under a canopy (chuppah), symbolizing the new home the couple will build together. Sometimes the two mothers will escort the bride, the father the groom. The bride will encircle the groom beneath the chuppah, three to seven times. The rings will be presented, blessings made, then the groom will break a glass beneath his right foot.

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Amily Bronte  |  Contribution: 220