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5 Jewish Celebrities Who Had Bar/Bat Mitzvahs as Adults

bar mitzvah

The Jewish coming-of-age tradition, AKA the bar/bat mitzvah, arguably occurs at the most awkward time in a young person’s life. Studying the assigned Torah portion and memorizing the haftora for a year is a Jewish rite of passage, but couldn’t it happen at a more convenient time, say, when our faces aren’t studded with pimples and our teeth adorned with metal?

Traditionally, boys have a bar mitzvah at age 13, and girls — who generally mature faster than their male counterparts — become a bat mitzvah at the ripe old age of 12. But guess what? That’s not a hard and fast rule: Adult, or belated, bar/bat mitzvahs have become quite commonplace. In fact, many congregations have instituted formal group ceremonies for multiple adults to become a bar/bat mitzvah together.

Though it may be unconventional, there’s at least a handful of Jewish celebrities who did their bar/bat mitzvahs right: once they were mature and, more than that, were rich, Hollywood stars. We rounded up five Jew-ish celebrities who waited until they were in their prime to become men and women in the eyes of Jewish law.

1. James Franco

In 2015, actor James Franco became a bar mitzvah, because 37 is the new 13, right? That might be a stretch, but it’s never too late to fulfill the mitzvah. Franco, dressed in a tallit, became a bar mitzvah to raise money for Hilarity for Charity, a show that’s sponsored by his friends (and married couple) Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen, which has raised more than $10 million since 2012 for Alzheimer’s care and research. What an amazing mitzvah project!

Technically, Franco was bar mitzvahed before Hilarity for Charity: “The rabbi wouldn’t do it on the actual event, so he did it last night at our friend’s house and we filmed it and we’ll show it at our fundraiser,” Rogen told VultureIn a since deleted Instagram post, Franco said: “I am now a MAN! Got Bar Mitvahed tonight!!! Finally!”

2. Drake

When rapper Drake — born Aubrey Drake Graham — had a bar mitzvah at age 13 in the basement of an Italian restaurant, he told himself that if he ever got rich, he’d throw himself a re-bar mitzvah, Digital Spy reported. True to his word, the Jewish dad hosted a blowout bash at age 30 in 2017. Complete with a “bar mitzvah board” from when he was 13, the party was filled with A-list celebrities, red “Aubrey’s re-bar mitzvah” cups, and custom-made Papis pizzeria boxes.

 

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My bar mitzvah board 😂

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Oh, and let’s not forget when Drake parodied his bar mitzvah while hosting Saturday Night Live in 2014. He also wrote a song called “Bar Mitzvah in 1999” which, as you can guess, is about his bar mitzvah.

3. David Arquette

Like Franco, actor David Arquette became a bar mitzvah years after he turned 13 — 27 years later, to be exact. Growing up, the Jewish dad of four wanted to have a bar mitzvah, but his mom forbade it because she thought he just wanted presents. In 2012, at age 42, the Scream star celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Kotel in Jerusalem. Afterwards, he tweeted “I had my bar mitzvah today at the wall. Finally I’m a man.”

4. Paula Abdul

Like Arquette, singer-dancer Paula Abdul planned to have her Jewish coming-of-age ceremony at the Western Wall. Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul, 56, was meant to have her bat mitzvah at the Kotel when she was 51, but because of jet-lag, she moved the location to Safed, a center of Kabbalah. Rabbi Eyal Riess of the Tzfat Kabbalah Center said that Abdul also wanted to avoid the “media circus” and have a more private ceremony. Abdul was wrapped in a tallit while she recited traditional prayers, and the party, which lasted almost three hours, was full of klezmer music, Haartez reported

5. Ashton Kutcher… maybe

OK, this one is seriously speculative, but it’s possible that Kabbalah enthusiast and non-Jewish actor Ashton Kutcher might be planning a bar mitzvah. According to the ever-reliable National Enquirer, a “proud pal” said that the dad-of-two has been secretly studying “sacred Hebrew prayers” to prepare for the big event. This juicy piece of gossip was revealed back in October, so we can’t say for certain just yet if it’s B.S. or something to kvell about. Kutcher and his wife, our Shabbat queen Mila Kunis, are raising children Wyatt and Dimitri in a Jewish household. Kutcher’s aim “is to set a beautiful example for his precious children,” the anonymous source said. “Mila will surely be beaming at the bema, the podium where Ashton will recite from ancient Torah scriptures.”

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