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This bear was used as a gift to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of an Iowa Jewish girl. The Bat Mitzvah is a coming of age ritual for girls that occurs at the age of 12. Jewish law does not require girls to hold a public ceremony; however, they have become more popular during the last 50 years. The bear is wearing a prayer shawl, which Jewish girls wear during their Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. Content can be used with the following standards: 3rd grade SS 3.28 Cultural Contributions in a lesson on religions practiced in Iowa such as Judaism and its associated rituals. For any use other than instructional resources, please check with the organization that owns this item regarding copyright restrictions.
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A Bat Mitzvah held for girls at the age of 12 is a formal occassion that celebrates children's coming of age into adolescence as well as the knowledge of the Jewish religion and Hebrew culture. This ritual has been practiced with boys for several centuries in a Bar Mitzvah, however has only been celebrated for girls since 1922. Followers of Judaism believe the ritual helps to build self-esteem in girls as puberty can often result in lower confidence or self-image. The ritual involves the eating of traditional Jewish foods such as breaking challah (braided bread), reciting Jewish prayers and hymns, and lighting the Shabbat candle to bring peace into the girls' life.