Life Cycle

Update: Jun 13th, 2011

The Jewish life cycle in Maine

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We are all born, we all age, and we all die. How we mark the transitions from one stage of life to the next is an important aspect of how we express our identity. Jewish rites celebrating birth establish the baby’s religious identity and welcome new life into the world.

Children become adults when they take responsibility for upholding their faith in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. Weddings transform individuals into couples and make separate family units into large, extended webs of relationships. Death rites affirm the faith of the deceased and those who love them.

At every new phase, rituals define us. Life cycle rituals are the most important means of expressing religious Jewish identity in Maine. Identity, however, is composed of much more than just our religious affiliation. Our lives in school, among friends, and in our communities also play crucial roles in defining who we are.

The identity of Jews in Maine reflects a melding of distinctly Jewish elements and typical New England life. What are the elements that shape your identity?

Curated by Robyn Wardell '11

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