A friend from work recently invited me to his son's Bar Mitzvah, What is a Bar Mitzvah? As a Christian should I attend?
"Bar Mitzvah" literally means "son of the commandment." You may also hear the term, "Bat Mitzvah" which means "daughter of the commandment."
So what is entailed here and what are the ceremonies?
The easiest way to explain this is to say, that they are a "coming of age" ceremony of sorts. Under Jewish Law, children prior to age 13 (for boys) and 12 (for girls) are not obligated to "observe the commandments." This would be similar to the "age of accountability" you hear people speak of regarding salvation.
The ceremony formally marks the child's obligation to observe the commandments as well as the associated rights for things such as the right to take part in leading religious services.
The ceremony is part of the weekly Torah service at a synagogue on the Shabbat. (Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath and is observed on Saturdays) It is common for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebrant to read a portion of the Torah during the service, or lead the congregation in certain important prayers. The father of the celebrant often recites a blessing thanking God for removing his responsibility for the child's sins.
The religious service is usually followed by a reception that is often elaborate and often rivals a wedding reception.
If possible one must consider attending this ceremony. This would be a great way to learn a little about Judaism and honoring your friend's invitation.