Becoming an adult is one of the great milestones celebrated the world over by countless customs and rituals. In Hungary, Mendel Hurwitz is on the cusp of his 13th birthday, and that means he's getting ready to leave childhood behind for the next phase in his spiritual life. According to Jewish tradition, the transition into adulthood is commemorated by a rite of passage known as the bar mitzvah for boys and the bat mitzvah for girls.
After years of study and practice, Mendel will finally stand in front of his family and friends at the synagogue to read from the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. After the ritual, he will have become an adult in the eyes of God.
For Mendel, adulthood is marked by a new and profounder way of thinking about the world and his place he occupies in it. Mendel's father couldn't be prouder of his inquisitive son. As he puts it, "Questioning is the heart of Judaism."
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