Understanding Jewish Family Laws

The basic laws pertaining to Jewish families are primarily based on the teachings of the Torah. Judaism acknowledges the family as the basic building block of society. Jewish traditions emphasize the importance of the parents’ roles in guiding their children through their religious, emotional, educational and material needs. Orthodox Judaism follows more strict family guidelines while those in modern movements are more permissive when it comes to issues involving Jewish families.

Marriage: A Sacred Union

Judaism views marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman. Back in ancient times, Jewish men were allowed to have more than one wife. This practice, however, was prohibited thousands of years ago in many Jewish cultures. On the other hand, Jewish women are not allowed to have more than one husband. Purity is an important concept of Jewish marital laws.

Judaism’s Stand on Divorce

Judaism recognizes that some marriages can fail. Jewish laws provide rules for divorce so that both parties are free to remarry. A ‘Get’ or Jewish divorce is a document that provides a definite end to a marriage. After a couple receives the ‘get,’ both parties are free to be married again in a Jewish ceremony. The wife has to wait for 90 days before remarrying.

The Coming of Age: Bar and Bat Mitzvah

By the time a boy reaches the age of 13, he is now a recognized member of the Jewish community. On the other hand, girls attain this stage at 12 or 13 when they celebrate bat mitzvah. At this point, children undergo an intensive phase of study. They are also expected to regularly be present on Shabbat services and other religious activities together with their parents.

The Importance of Quality Time

Judaism stresses on the importance of providing quality time to children. Since certain commandments are obligatory on men and certain ones are obligatory on women, a child will only have a full Jewish exposure when both parents are active in their faith.

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