The celebration of birthdays is unknown in traditional Jewish ritual. A comparatively late exception, however, is the *bar mitzvah and the bat mitzvah. The only reference to a birthday in the Bible is that celebrated by Pharaoh (Gen. 40:20). In Reform and Conservative synagogues, special prayers of thanksgiving are recited on the occasion of significant birthdays (e.g., 50th, 70th, 80th, etc.) and at silver and golden wedding anniversaries.
Rabbi's Manual (1928–19622), 45–49, CCAR (Reform); J. Harlow (ed.), Likkutei Tefillah, A Rabbi's Manual (1965), Conservative, 51–55.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.