Wednesday, January 14, 2004

from Slate Today's Papers:
The nation's young gentiles, apparently bored with Christmas, are now demanding bar mitzvahs, says the WSJ [subscription required]. Parties in honor of the Jewish coming of age ritual, which was once celebrated with little more than a glass of Manischewitz, have become hot among kids about to turn 13. One Catholic mother held a party for her daughter that featured a Hawaiian surfing theme, a DJ and two professional dancers. "The kids who had great bar mitzvah parties were elevated socially," she told the WSJ. "So we kind of felt a little bit of pressure to hold an event people would remember."


how bizarre is this? This is the kind of articles behaviours that make Americans look like indulgent idiots abroad. I am not referring to the fake bar-mitzvahs so much as the extravagance with which both real and fake ones are staged. In an orthodox Jewish community a bar-mitzvah actually means something not just historically, but in a very real way as to what kind of obligations young man will now have. Lots of mitzvot that were previously not required are now demanded of him. I doubt this is what is going on with too many of the $10,000+ celebtrations described in WSJ.

On the other hand - why not? If one is going to throw a party for a kid, why not at least make them work for it a little? Imbue the celbration with some gravitas, in addition to gravy, turkey, and probably tons of proscuitto and shrimp.

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