ERIC Number: ED327742
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Divorce and Bar Mitzvah: A First Look.
Geffen, Michael; Kaplan, Earl
After an introductory discussion and review of literature on divorce among Jewish families, this document presents and analyzes two case studies which show the adverse effect of divorce and child-custody battles on the children of Jewish families who subsequently plan a B'nai Mitzvah (Bar or Bat Mitzvah) ceremony--a joyous ritual of initiation into adulthood and religious life that traditionally calls for the participation of both parents. In the first study, a young girl's Bat Mitzvah is disrupted by a dispute between the mother and father over the seating of the father--either on the pulpit with the mother or with his second wife in the congregation. The outcome of this unresolved conflict is an emotional breakdown during the service by both father and daughter, which irrevocably mars the occasion for the daughter. The second case study, of a son's bar mitzvah involving a divorced couple where the noncustodial father has moved far away and abandoned all support for the mother and son, shows a counterexample of a successful and healing accommodation, owing to the timely mediation of the rabbi, prior to the ceremony. A brief discussion follows, emphasizing the importance of the rabbi's role in recognizing and dealing with reactive unconscious guilt of divorced parents prior to the B'nai Mitzvah ceremonies. (TE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bar Mitzvah; Bat Mitzvah; Rabbis
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).