Jewish culture dates back thousands of years. Respecting Jewish culture and traditions is a matter of acceptance and respect. A variety of Jewish customs have remained private cultural celebrations, while others have been broadly accepted as commonplace by populations at large. Understanding Judaism and those who practice it helps for building relationships and bonds. Stay positive and civil when encountering a Jewish tradition to remain courteous and reverential.
Understand the basic tenants of the Torah. Remember that the Torah -- meaning "law" -- is the Jewish holy book consisting of the first five books of the bible. The Torah represents Jewish thought, philosophy, and practices in all matters concerning religion, family, principles, and love.
Remain deferential to traditions concerning newborns. Jewish parents commonly have baby boys circumcised when they are eight days old. The circumcision is traditionally administered by a mohel (a Jewish authority) at the same time the baby is given its Hebrew name. An official Simchat Bat (baby-naming ceremony) commences at a synagogue on the first Shabbat after a baby girl is born.
Attend a Bar Mitzvah (for a boy) or Bat Mitzvah (for a girl) when you are invited. Bring a gift in honor of the celebration where boys and girls -- at the age of 13 -- become adults under Jewish law and are considered responsible for their own actions. Watch the boy or girl of honor read a selected passage from the Torah in front of their parents, family, and invited guests.
Acknowledge the mikvah as an official ceremony. When someone converts to Judaism, he or she uses the mikvah for spiritual purification. Orthodox Jewish women often use a mikvah once a month, following their normal menstrual cycles.
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