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.