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26.03.2004 General News

Bar Mitzvah in Ghana

By jta/GHP
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An Israeli boy in Ghana was due to have the first Bar Mitzvah in the country. Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. A Jewish boy automatically becomes a Bar Mitzvah upon reaching the age of 13 years. The ceremony was due to take place this week in the capital city of Accra after Chabad-Lubavitch of Central Africa in Kinshasa, the Congo, dispatched a pair of rabbinic students and a Torah to help a family working there for an Israeli firm. The boy, Bar Dahan, would become the first Bar Mitzvah in the African nation, a Chabad spokesman said. "Bar Mitzvah" literally means "son of the commandment." Under Jewish Law, children are not obligated to observe the commandments, although they are encouraged to do so as much as possible to learn the obligations they will have as adults. At the age of 13 (12 for girls), children become obligated to observe the commandments. The Bar Mitzvah ceremony formally marks the assumption of that obligation, along with the corresponding right to take part in leading religious services, to count in a minyan (the minimum number of people needed to perform certain parts of religious services), to form binding contracts, to testify before religious courts and to marry.

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