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Jul 9 2012

An Unexpected Bar Mitzvah Boy in Oxford

By at 10:42 am
oxford, england

Oxford, England.

My eldest son turned 13 in June. We didn’t arrange a traditional bar mitzvah for him, for reasons I outlined earlier.

However, my son still became a bar mitzvah. He didn’t read from the Torah, make a speech, or hand out glow sticks to a few hundred of his closest friends. He was, nonetheless, according to Jewish law, a man.

Anyone who has met a typical, American, 13-year-old knows how ridiculous that notion is. (Though my son is a responsible boy–he navigates New York City by subway on his own, he takes his younger brother to school every morning, he babysits his siblings, and even other kids for pay, he does his homework without prompting, and earns good grades. But, a man, he is not.) Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2012

Bat Mitzvah Photo Contest Winner: My Theme Was “Peace”

By at 9:30 am

A little while ago, our editorial assistant risked permanent publicĀ embarrassment and shared pictures from “Mollypalooza,” a.k.a. her bat mitzvah. We then asked our readers to send in their own bat mitzvah pictures, and chose a favorite to feature on the site. Without further ado, we present to you Gili Warsett:

Here, we ask Gili a few questions about her bat mitzvah:

What exactly did a “peace” themed bat mitzvah entail?

I became a bat mitzvah during the onset of themed b’nai mitzvot, and my mom, ever the Jewish feminist, would not allow me to have a non-Jewish related theme. She wasn’t totally sold on the theme idea at all, but if I had to have one, it certainly meant I couldn’t have a shopping, drama, baseball, or Disney-themed party, which was very popular in Florida at the time. A lot of my friends chose themes that highlighted an aspect of their identity like playing the flute or being a champion swimmer, but I failed at piano and caused my softball team to lose every game. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 4 2012

Share Your Embarrassing Bar/Bat Mitzvah Photos With Us

By at 1:39 pm
molly tolsky bat mitzvah

Our little Molly, officially a woman.

One thing we haven’t talked a whole lot about on Kveller is the quintessential milestone of a young Jewish person’s life: the bar/bat mitzvah. Alina just opened the floodgates with her post about deciding to not throw her son a standard bar mitzvah. On the other side of the spectrum, Kveller’s editorial assistant Molly just uncovered a number of pictures from her own bat mitzvah that are… how do we put this… absolutely amazing?

And now we want to see some of your pictures. The good, the bad, the over-the-top. Did your party have a theme? Were you sporting a sharp power suit? Was your whole family forced to hug in front a professional photographer? Read the rest of this entry →

The Case of the Missing Bar Mitzvah

By at 12:42 pm

Almost three years ago, when my oldest son was only 10, I received an e-mail from our temple’s Hebrew School, which he was then attending, informing me that it was time to put his bar mitzvah date down on their calendar.

I responded with what I thought was the perfect, Jewish reaction, “Oy, we should all live so long.” (Let the record show that the above response was only in my head. I sent the temple a more dispassionately worded answer, merely declining the opportunity.)

I was informed that, should I fail at committing to a particular date almost three years down the road on the spot, I risked it BECOMING UNAVAILABLE. Read the rest of this entry →


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