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Culture Folk Culture - People The People Jews Larissa

Circumcision ceremony, Larissa
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Religious adultness ceremony, Larissa (1980)
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Tefillins are worn by a boy during his religious adultness ceremony,Larissa (1973)
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Girls in a religious adultness ceremony, Larissa (1979)
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Jewish wedding, Larissa (1953
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Jewish wedding, Larissa (1900)
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
The funeral of rabbi Abraham Sason, Larissa, (1957)
(Photo: AArchives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)

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Topics
Vlachs
Jews
Sarakatsanoi
Emigres of Anatoliki Romylia
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Larissa
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10/11/2008
Morals and customs (Birth, religious adultness, marriage, death)

Rita Moise

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The Jews of Larissa safeguarded, as much as it was possible, the customs and their traditions, despite the inevitable effects of environment and their necessary adaptation to it.

Most traditions are related with the stages of circle of life and with religious feasts. In the stages of circle of life are included the birth, the marriage and the death, while for each Jew, it is added also that of religious adultness.

In the Jewish religion, in a case of a birth of a boy, the ceremony of giving the name is accompanied with circumcision which is dated 8 days after his birth (or if it exists special reason, later, in any case no after the first month). The circumcision is acted with admirable ability by a special circumcision expert, who had studied this specific process. Simultaneously are recited special prayers and the rabbi announces the name of child, that is informed by the contractor (godfather), which is usually, one from his grandfathers. The ceremony of circumcision takes place in the Synagogue, or in the house of parents, or in some room where is offered a traditional sweet from white candy in a scheme of “8”, that implies the 8th day from the birth of child.
In the case of a birth of a girl, takes place, without time limits, a simple ceremony of giving the name where the girl, with the benedictions of religion, takes her name.

The second and one of the most important moments in the life each Jew is during his thirteenth year of his life. Exactly at this moment the boy transcends from his teen period to his adult period. Religious adultness is obligatory and very critical. After being accepted as an adult man, he can participate in the quorum of at least ten men, the necessary number which is required, in order, to take place any religious ceremony.

In a special ceremony in the synagogue, the boy reads the section of day from the "Torah'" (Holy Law), that has been taught by the rabbi, he asserts that comprehends the importance of his adultness, he recognizes his duties, his obligations and his rights that arise from this and he undertakes, as adult henceforth, the responsibilities of his actions.
Very similar ceremony is organized when a girl is twelve years old. At her twelfth year of life, girl is perceived biologically mature. At the ceremony participate all the girls of the same age who got dressed symbolically as brides. Main Torah principles are taught to them this day.

Jewish marriage has some special characteristics. The ceremony takes place inside the synagogue or in another place. Rabbi accompanied with a quorum welcomes the couple at the synagogue and leads the couple under the chuppah (canopy), a symbol of the home that the new couple will build together. It is open on all sides, just as Abraham and Sarah had their tent open all sides. Two cups of wine are used in the wedding ceremony. The first cup accompanies the betrothal blessings, recited by the rabbi. After these are recited, the couple drinks from the cup. Then the groom takes the wedding ring in his hand, and in clear view of two witnesses. It follows the reading of ketubah (marriage contract). At the end, a glass is placed on the floor, and the groom shatters it symbolically, on the memory of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Funeral rituals of Jewish religion include washing the body and preparing it for burial. A special group called chevra kaddisha takes care of the dead. Bodies are buried in a simple linen shroud and not in a coffin. The body is also wrapped in a tallit. A handful of earth is thrown by a member of the family. Jewish religion appreciates a lot life but does not of course devalues death. On the contrary through the above honorary ritual tries to strengthen the idea that dead will back soon on earth, on life.