Religion and Rites of Passage in Jewish Ritual, Liturgy, Culture, and Tradition
For our 2020 conference, we traverse the wide variety of rites that make up human cultural experience and focus on Religion and Rites of Passage. From the moment of our physical and social initiations into the world through birth, up until communal recognition of our departures from society through death, our lives are marked by a number of ceremonies and rituals that define who we are and how we will identify in that world. These rites may stem from traditional religious practices of initiation, membership or belonging related to events such as marriage, pregnancy, birth, coming of age, parenting, and death, or they may arise in the context of secular culture, as one sees, for example, in ceremonies that mark a passage into political office, sports team rituals, fraternity or sorority traditions, or graduation ceremonies. How do rites of passage provide communities with aesthetic experiences through the inclusion of dance, art, and music? What are the moral ramifications that arise in the cases of certain rites (e.g. female circumcision, hazing deaths)? How do symbolism and material culture play important parts in these rites of passage? In addition to re-examining well-established rites of passage and exploring their significance to different cultures, both historically and to the contemporary world, we wish to broaden our understanding of rites of passage and seek out new possibilities of what counts as a rite of passage in the twenty-first century.