Jews think the home is central as it is the place that most worship takes place. It is looked at as a central place for the whole family to get together and worship as a family. They think it is central because it is the centre of all the worship that takes place especially during the Shabbat.
Not all Jews follow the faith with the same discipline and attitude. This can lead to different behaviour and the ways in which the religion is worshipped. There are two types of Jews. Liberal Jews who are not as strict and don’t necessarily follow all the guidelines to the Jewish religion, and then there are Orthodox Jews who follow the torah, Shema and Mitzvot and make sure they don’t break any of the rules. Judaism concentrates on obedience and so all Jews, whether they are Liberal or Orthodox are especially keen on following guidelines and obeying the rules of Judaism.
Sharing certain rituals can bring a family closer as they have to spend more time together and the majority of this time would be spent worshipping. When the mother lights candles on the dinner table during the Shabbat meal, shows a religious significance of women and the valued role they lead as a mother.
The Kiddush is a holy moment, which is shared with the family. This is a time, which unifies and strengthens as all of the family focus on sharing objects with each other. The men usually lead this time but in Progressive Jewish families, the women sometimes do it.
The wine, which is, drank during the Kiddush or any time in the Jewish religion, is a symbol of linking the families together and sharing with each other. It is a symbol of sacrifice of the poor and can bond families together while sharing this thought.
Havdalah which means division is a time which shows division from the rest of the world and so being a family at this time shows how a family is special and not everybody in the world is lucky enough to have one as loving or caring as yours.
All these things make families realise how lucky they are t have each other and that sharing things is the best way to bond a friendship or relationship with someone.
Sharing things with your family might not strengthen the family relationship as it might cause tension between family members. Spending too much time with your friends or family can cause arguments and you cannot necessarily enjoy the time you spend with them, as you would if you didn’t spend as much time with them as often.
If I had to share family rituals as often as they do, then I don’t think it would strengthen our relationship. I wouldn’t feel as if I had any independence and I would always feel as if everything I did had to be shared with my family. However I can see how some families enjoy sharing things and how it brings them closer together and would make them feel a closer community. I can see both sides of the argument but I feel that if I was in this situation I would feel isolated and non-independent if I had to share everything with my family.
Sharing festivals can bring a family together as they would spend a lot of time in each others company and sharing the time together would make them feel warmer towards each other.
Pesach is a festival, which brings family very close, as it is a very repetitive festival. The same things happen every year and so they know what is coming and sharing it becomes easier. The Seder meal brings families closer together as it links past to the present. It brings different generations of the family closer together and creates a sense of belonging. The questions the children ask their parents help them learn about God therefore his shows that they are interested in him and want to learn. It helps the family share their thoughts and knowledge on God and how he helps their religion.
Hanukkah is also a religion that illustrates the way Jews share festivals with their family. It is sometimes forgotten for its true meaning and sometimes just remembered for the gifts that are given and received. Families share Hanukkah by giving each other presents to remember they have each other.
When you celebrate these events with your family you gain more trust and a better bond with the family you have grown up with. You learn new things from them and adapt the way they celebrate with how you do it.
My opinion on this topic is that it helps to bring the family together. Hanukkah is similar to Christmas and I think of Christmas as a time to share things with your family and learn new things about each other. Christmas is one of the only times in a year when my whole family get together so it is very special and means more than just a meal with my family. It helps me to understand them and they way they celebrate things.
On the other hand, some families prefer to share things in different ways. You could always find some families that feel sharing festivals, doesn’t help strengthen their family at all. Some of the reasons for this could be that time off school/work for the family could cause stress and could make the children feel standing out and could lead to conflict.
Festivals could stop children and sometimes adults from joining any teams, which meet on a Saturday or on the day of the Festival. This could make the child feel excluded and could lead to arguments between the child and their parents. This could cause family disagreements, which would weaken the relationship.
If I had to miss going out with friends or playing in my hockey games on a Saturday then I would feel left out and would feel as though I had no social life and all my friends did. Not only would it lead to arguments between my family and me but also it could cause arguments between my parents if one of them agreed with me and the other one didn’t. This would not strengthen our family relationship at all. I would feel as though my social life was more important than family time or worship and would not want to join in with festivals, which took place on the day of something else I had planned.
The Rites of Passages that are shared with your family are very special to come Jews. Bar Mitzvah is a ceremony, which Jews love to share with their family. It is a ceremony which strengthens the family as all the family are involved in some way. The father holds the baby while it is being circumcised and the mother holds it after it has been done. Although many boys who are circumcised, are done at a young age and so therefore don’t remember it is still a special moment for all the family and for the boy when he grows up and the family can tell him about how they celebrated the moment in his life.
Rites of Passages are times in your life, which are remembered with a celebration. These are special for all Jews and they enjoy sharing them with their family.
I don’t really think there are many negative sides to sharing Rites of Passages with your family, as they are special times in your life that should be remembered and the best way to remember things are if someone else celebrates with you and you can share ideas and moments that you all remember from the event.
I would not have a problem if I had to go to family events once in a while. I am not very close to my family and so when we have a family event it is very special to me and I don’t really mind whether I have something else to do on that day or not, because the time that I do spend with my family, is special to me and I remember it and will share the experiences I gained from it with my friends and family in the time to come.
It is not only the religious praying rituals that are shared among the family, but other household rituals are as well. By having a kosher kitchen and sticking to the rules, this helps strengthen the family and become closer together. When someone makes a mistake in the kitchen, by mixing meat with dairy, then they ask the family for forgiveness. This would help to bond the family together and learn to live with each other’s mistakes and not feeling ashamed to admit to it to your family. They are hard rules to follow but it can lead to a stronger family relationship by working together to try and make sure you keep the rules set.
The tefillin is a ritual that would help bring the family closer together. It is a object that can be seen and so therefore although the person wearing it can not see it, the rest of their family can and so therefore know whether they are following the rules or not and can see they are devoted to their religion.
The negative things to sharing the tefillin with your family, is that its true meaning could be taken away and not focused on as much as it should be. People forget that its true meaning is to hold the Shema and they just concentrate on getting it on their head in the right place etc. and so sometimes can cause arguments among the family if it is not being used in the correct way.
There are many ways in which a Jewish Family can be strengthened. There are things, which have already been mentioned, and there are things such as family meals, day trips out, family worshipping. These things would strengthen the family in different ways. It would strengthen it by the whole family spending more time together and reflecting on things they have done in their individual everyday lives. When a family gets together and can talk about individual achievements and experiences, then this can help to bond the family closer together.
I think it is easier for an Orthodox Jew, than a Liberal Jew. I think this because although they are stricter about obeying the rules, they have a stronger family relationship.
I don’t think I would be able to stick to all the rules and I would not be able to spend the amount of time that Jews do with their family. I would feel left out when all my friends were going out on a Friday and Saturday night and I had to stay in for no other reason than the Torah tells me to.
I think growing up into a Jewish family would be very hared. I don’t think you would see the good side of the religion until you have got over the stage when you want to look cool in front of your friends and want to do everything your friends do. Until you have got over this stage then I think it would make you feel deprived. I think you would feel as though your parent ruled your life and you weren’t allowed to do anything.
I think the overall benefits of keeping all the rituals are that you spend quality time with your family and can have the self- control in you, to stick with the religion and not give in however hard it may be at times. I think the best parts of keeping religious rituals are that there are many celebrations and festivals throughout your life, which you remember, and the rituals you share with your family mean a lot to you. This is most special to you later on in your life when you have your own children and have to teach them to follow in your footsteps and become a faithful Jew like yourself.