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Bar Mitzvah: A Jewish Boy's Coming of Age Hardcover – February 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kimmel (Days of Awe) unites his considerable storytelling gifts with affectionate understanding of the religious and cultural aspects of the bar mitzvah to produce a little something for everyone. Children with no previous exposure to Jewish beliefs and rituals will find the explanations here both clear and enticing, respectful of different religious traditions. Speaking in friendly, measured tones, Kimmel also accommodates Jewish readers from a variety of backgrounds, from Reform to Orthodox. He emphasizes the personal signficance of the ceremony by interpolating short first-person accounts of different men's and boys' bar mitvahs?not all of these are joyous, but each is powerful and distinct (an octagenarian describes how he had a second bar mitvah 67 years after his first; another man recounts the dramatic events of his 13th birthday in 1943, spent with Jewish partisans in the forests of Poland; a third recalls that his bar mitzvah was "vulgar, crass, thoroughly unspiritual"?"and yet... something happened in spite of all that"). Plenty of quick illustrative stories and legends about wise rabbis and European Jewry contribute to the festivities. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 11-13.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8?Certainly, this is a book for every pre-bar mitzvah boy to read, but it is also a book for anyone who wants to learn about the beliefs, philosophies, and history of the religion. Kimmel describes the reason for the coming-of-age ceremony; what happens before and during it; and its origins and transformations throughout Jewish history. The author, in his informal, warm, conversational style, clarifies some esoteric facts about the sacred books of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims and looks at the similarities and differences in the three religions. Folklorist that he is, he has incorporated anecdotal material (including a poignant account by his father), rabbinic stories, and folktales into the narrative. Weihs's stylized, full-and half-page black-and-white scratchboard illustrations capture individuals and many of the traditional symbols and ritual objects associated with the ceremony. This is a livelier and more comprehensive treatment than Howard Greenfeld's Bar Mitzvah (Holt, 1981; o.p.), which deals thoroughly with bar mitzvah but not with the history or philosophical ramifications of Torah and prayer, nor with the ceremony's relationship to the ancient Temple service. Kimmel's title is likely to become a classic.?Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (February 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670855405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670855407
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,434,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Father's review on December 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Very well written for the target audience. Uses lots of adult male reflections that even a 2nd generation immigrant can relate too. Really gets at the essence of what a Bar Mitzvah is and should remain to be, but in addition, it talks about the path that a bar Mitzvah starts a young man on for his committment and obligation as a member of the jewish and world community. Father - 43 years old.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Im not even Jewish but man, this book really taught me how to become a man and if I hypothetically was jewish, I would know exactly how to go about my bar mitzvah
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my grandson, who recently was assigned the date for his Bar Mitzvah. It arrived quickly and was well packaged. I have purchased several of the author's books for children, and I was certain that this book would be perfect for my boy. I was quite disappointed because the contents are 'dated' and not interesting to an 11 year old boy. The information in the book is right on; however, it is very dry, and didn't hold his interest. Also, when I opened the package, I couldn't believe my eyes - someone had written a telephone number - in ink - on the first page!! I should have returned this book, but I was afraid that Amazon would think that I had written the numbers.
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