This article describes the journey of the author’s secular Jewish family as they grappled with how to celebrate their sons’ bar mitzvahs. It is a personal reflection, based on diary entries kept throughout the period of planning a Jewish rite of passage; creating new rituals outside of the conventional religious practice marking a boy’s transition to manhood. This process led the author to consider both what it means to be a secular Jew as well as alternative ways to celebrate Jewish culture.
Ilana Korber is a clinical psychologist and writer. South African born, she lives in London with her husband and two teenage boys.