Bar Mitzvah Madness

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5 Responses

  1. David says:

    I find it funny and sad that many of these people with huge amounts of money defend having
    treif-catered affairs because of the cost of kosher food. This is of course, only from those
    that consider kosher even for a second, which is probably a minority of the parents of
    bar/bat mitzvahs.

  2. Gershon Seif says:

    speaking of the washington post and unique “Jewish” ways to spend money, you must see this!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/30/AR2005113000454.html

  3. Ori Pomerantz says:

    This is silly, but is it really counter productive?

    Look at it from the perspective of the very Reformed child and what [s]he learns as Judaism. In general, that is very little. Shabbat may or may not exist. Some holiday rituals, such as lighting the Chanukiya or dressing up on Purim, are fun – but they less exciting than their competition, computer and video games. Maybe the parents take their kid to the synagogue three days a year, but those are Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, hardly attractive services from the perspective of a young child.

    It is possible that the kid learns about Halacha, but if so, [s]he probably learns about it as a list of restrictions. Don’t watch videos, play video games, and get out of the house on Shabbat (OK, it’s don’t drive – but for a suburbanite kid those are equivalent). Don’t eat at many of your friends’ houses, or many of the normal foods.

    Then, as the kid nears Bar Mitzvah age (the term is often used for both genders), [s]he gets to go to an after-school/Sunday activity to learn how to lead services. Exactly what elementary school kids have always wanted – to spend more hours in a classroom, learning another alphabet so they can read syllables they cannot understand.

    The big party at least shows Judaism as fun, instead of extra tasks the kid doesn’t want.

  4. David says:

    These parties do not show Judaism as fun, because live bands and candle-lighting ceremonies on Shabbat, and feasts of
    treif food (and I don’t just meant “not under hashcagah,” I mean un-schected meat at best and pork and shellfish at
    worst HAVE ZERO to do with JUDAISM. Let the kids have fun, just don’t call your fun, that involves “How many ways can we possibly violate the laws of Judaism in one event” Judaism.
    Lest people think me a right-wing fanatic, I should point out that many to most of non-Orthodox bar/bat mitzvahs include elements that are forbiden even by Conservative interpretations of halacha.

  5. Ori Pomerantz says:

    David,

    Maybe I used the wrong term. I should have said: “perceived as Judaism by the kid”. But I still stand by my main idea: kids who have fun experiences that they consider to be Judaism are more likely to search for more information when they grow up than kids who grow up with bad experiences that they consider to be Judaism. Information about authentic Judaism is easily available once they decide to look.

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