This encyclopedia presents historical accounts of Jewish rituals, the meaning behind their development, and descriptions of how the rituals are practiced among different Jewish communities. Entries discuss how the rituals evolved over time and what they are designed to symbolize. Whether practiced in the personal or public realm, the rituals included in this volume are generally acknowledged as such by the Jewish community, even if they are not practiced by large segments of the community. Comparisons are drawn among rituals as they are practiced by Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox Jews. This volume brings together a wealth of information about the often complicated rituals practiced in Jewish communities throughout North America. Readers desiring to learn more about Jewish rituals will appreciate the mix of historical and practical concerns each entry details. Specific information is readily accessible in the encyclopedic format. Entries are cross-referenced throughout, and each concludes with references for further research. An index is included.