Faux Mitzvahs

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3 Responses

  1. ralphie says:

    A guy walks into a rabbi’s office and asks if he can give his dog a bar mitzvah at the shul. The rabbi, outraged, throws him out of his office.

    A few months later, the rabbi sees the guy walking his dog. The dog is wearing a yarmulke. The guy sees the rabbi and says, “Rabbi – I told you I’d give my dog a bar mitzvah. After I left your office, I went to the shul across town, and the rabbi there said we could do it. We had a nice ceremony, a great party, and afterwards I donated $10,000 to the shul.”

    “$10,000?” the rabbi exclaimed, “Why didn’t you tell me your dog was Jewish?”

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Why do non-Orthodox parents give those huge parties when their kids reach Bar/Bat Mitzva age? I suspect that there are two reasons:

    1. The parents feel identification with Judaism, even if they don’t practice it. They want to pass this identification on to their children. Throwing a huge Bar Mitzva is a lot easier than following Mitzvot day in and day out. They hope it will have enough of an effect.

    2. Bar Mitzva preparation is a pain for the non-Orthodox kids. They are forced to spend their Sundays learning a foreign script so they can read from a prayer book in a foreign language they do not understand. This is so they can lead services they don’t see their parents attend regularly, and which they have no wish to attend regularly themselves. The huge party is essentially a bribe to get the kids to go along with the program.

    The underlying theme here is that Judaism is perceived by the parents and the children as an annoyance, something you have to go through, for which one should be compensated. I believe that that is the real issue, the underlying cause.

  3. Toby Katz says:

    The further right you go religiously the less emphasis there is on the bar mitzva. In Israeli chareidi circles many (most?) boys don’t even read from the Torah, they just get an aliyah in shul to show that they are now counted toward a minyan. Later there is a seudah–a party–but these are much less ostentatious than in the States and will typically include words of Torah delivered by the bar mitzva boy’s father and rebbe.

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