Archives For bar mitzvah

avoid planning

 

I got married at city hall. I wore a white leather mini dress and white leather boots. I was going for an ‘Amy Winehouse retro’ look but ended up more ‘boozy Nancy Sinatra’.

Afterwards, we had a barbecue in our backyard. My lawn caught fire which I expertly handled by drinking copious amounts of tequila. I’m told I ran around the backyard in various states of undress, but I have no memory of that. It was pre-camera phones. Thank God.

 

I love to throw big parties, although admittedly, it’s been a while. I provide excessive amounts of food and alcohol, make an 8-hour mixed tape that whips the crowd into an orgiastic frenzy of dance, and pray that no one pees in my living room.

What I can’t do – or rather, what I loathe doing – is plan events like weddings. I got married at city hall precisely because I’d rather set my teeth on fire than worry about center pieces and invitations.

This is where “you do you” comes in. I’m sure there are scads of people who wouldn’t devote an entire Saturday to hunting down a Partridge Family lunchbox, like I did.

 

According to everyone in the free world, I should already have started planning my kid’s bar mitzvah. It’s in November. Most mothers where I live would have already booked a summer face lift.

There will be a Saturday morning service at the temple, at which time my kid has to read his haftarah– a portion of the Torah.

It’s endless pages of hieroglyphics, and everytime he practices it, I marvel at his ability to learn a language that’s written right to left, in a completely different alphabet. Considering most people I know mangle this one.

There’s a small brunch-y reception right after the service,the kiddush, and then a big party that night. I have to decide what we’re serving at both those events and it has to be kosher, and what foods are kosher?! and did I forget to mention that my Ex used to call me “the Shiksah” because I don’t know jack shit about my own religion?

I should have already picked a venue. Places are booked a year in advance. But they won’t re-open CBGB’s to host a bar mitzvah, and beyond that, I don’t care.

 

A month ago, I was asked what my kid’s “theme” will be.

Theme? I was having a fun little fantasy wherein I begin every conversation at the party with “So, these adult diapers I’m wearing” and then this…theme thing happened.

I went into protective mode. I became a hedgehog whose life is threatened. I shot up my prickly spine and hissed and hoped it would all go away.

The decor and centerpieces are supposed to reflect said “theme” and I’m wondering if the theme can be “themeless.” Just like this blog.

My kid is looking forward to a party – after all, he’s been studying for 5 years – but he’s not invested in how elaborate it is. He did, however, also ask about the “theme.” HISSSSSS.

I have to pick out invitations and pre-invitation invitations, ‘Save the Date! notices. This locks people in so they can’t get a better offer at the last-minute and ditch us.

I have to decide who we’re inviting, and who we’re leaving out because we’re not inviting everyone we’ve ever known and I’m capping this bitch at 50 people.

We’ll need a DJ. But not JUST a DJ.

You need pyrotechnics and flashmob choreography. People hire entertainment companies, complete with girls dressed like rap video hoes, to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. And to get air humped by pubescent boys.

 

Traditionally, the bar mitzvah boy has personalized yarmulkes (beaniescreated in his favorite color, with his name and date printed inside. Little Dude cannot make up his mind what color to have, and recently suggested rainbow-colored. Which would be convenient, if we were going straight from the bar mitzvah to the Gay Pride parade.

I need to wear grownup clothes to this. Not just one outfit – I’ll need TWO. One suitable for a morning service at the temple, and one for the party that night. I have to buy these because I DON’T OWN CLOTHES LIKE THAT.

I’ll probably break tradition and wear a rock tee-shirt and jeans to the party that night because (this is becoming my mantra for the event) WHO CARES? My kid is fine with that, but has already put me on notice that I have to wear something “mom-ish” to the morning service.

I’ve decided to purchase an expensive, tasteful dress at a local department store. I’ll wear it with the tags still on it, Febreze the shit out of the armpits and return it the day after.

 

 

My mother passed away last fall, and while going through her belongings, I found ancient family photos. One yellowed packet contained photos of my eldest brother’s bar mitzvah. It was right before my father died, leaving my mother a widow with six kids.

It’s the only bar mitzvah my family had, although I have no memory of it beyond these photos.

I am 3 years old in the pictures. I don’t remember my father, or the mother of those pictures. She is laughing and whirling. She is beautiful; her body svelte and her flaming red hair matching her red lips. She is holding a cigarette in slender fingers just like mine, elegantly photographed at some catering hall in the Bronx, I suppose.

I do remember my brother, although he too, is gone now. There’s one picture of him holding me, laughing. Behind us are our parents, who are smiling for the camera, but mostly for the day and the joy it held.

Everyone but me in that picture is gone.

All that remains is a faded analog reminder of a different era; a time when we were all still alive and together and happy.

 

My son deserves his day.

Tomorrow, I start planning.

 

Are you good at planning these events? Do you want to plan this one?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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lion-blog revised

 

Little Dude recently received the date for his bar mitzvah, which will be in November of 2016.

We’ve decided to fly 150 people to Africa to go on a Wildebeest Migration Safari on the Serengeti. For the ceremony, LD will arrive on the back of an elephant surrounded by authentic members of the Maasai tribe.

The tribal leader will cry out the opening lyrics to “The Lion KIng,”

“NANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI,

SITHI UHM INGONYAMA!!!”

 

I’ve hired animal trainers to help reenact the opening scene to the movie. Little Dude will be dangled over a cliff by a wizened baboon as the rest of the animal kingdom bows to him.

From there, he’ll recite Hebrew prayers so we can return to rented huts for champagne and bagels.

 

Jk.

 

A bar (or “bat” for girls) mitzvah is a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. It celebrates graduation from Hebrew school and marks a child’s emergence into the adult world of Judaism,

Blah blah blah… everyone knows it’s really all about THE PARTY!

 

A photo album is made, just like a wedding album.

This is a typical staged photo from a 1960’s bar mitzvah album:

WLnCEWg

“Son, today you are a man. I present to you this family treasure. Your Grandfather, myself and now you will enjoy these fine ladies. Go forth and MASTURBATE.”

 

 

I recently shared on Facebook that one of my students had a Sweet Sixteen which cost her parents over $60,000. She hosted 300 people at an upscale, celebrity-studded restaurant in Manhattan. Each of her two dresses cost about $2500.

Her parents even hired Fetty Wap to appear. Fetty Wap, which sounds like the act of slapping someone in the face with a flaccid penis, is actually a super hot rapper with a slew of hits.

Nicki Minaj wasn’t available. She was booked for a bar mitzvah that day.

 

nikki minaj 2

Rich Catholic boys everywhere are now converting to Judaism

 

 

The truth is, even if we were billionaires, it would not be my style to throw a million dollar bar mitzvah for my kid.

Okay. Hold up.

If we were BILLIONAIRES, I might splurge and pay to restore what used to be CBGBs, and is now a John Varvatos store, to its former seedy glory as CBGBs for the night. And have the party there.

The point I’m trying (and failing miserably) to make is that it’s ludicrous to throw such extravagant parties for children. It stinks of entitlement and conspicuous consumption.

And all that money! Instead of throwing a 4 hour party, you could feed an entire starving Ethopian village.

 

Multimillionaire David H. Brooks spent TEN MILLION DOLLARS for his daughter’s bat mitzvah. The party was dubbed, “Mitzvahpalooza,” because Brooks had a stage built, brought in jumbotrons, and installed special concert carpeting.

He hired old AF musicians Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, The Eagles’ Don Henley and Joe Walsh, Fleetwood Mac’s Steve Nicks, and Tom Petty. And since this was allegedly a party for kids, he also hired DJ AM, Ciara, and 50 Cent.

Kenny G serenaded the guests on sax during cocktail hour.

Kenny FUCKING G? I would have had to get naked wasted to block out the soulless horse excrement that Kenny G passes as music.

I wasn’t even a little bit sad to read that five years later, Brooks was found guilty of insider trading. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison but I still think his biggest crime was hiring KENNY WANKING G.

 

 

A huge trend is creating elaborate videos for the bar mitzah invitation. This one I posted below is MORTIFYING. I HAD to share this with you. It went viral, which now completely ruins for me the entire concept of “going viral.”

I don’t believe in being judgey about how people spend their money, or especially about kids and how they look or sound.

HOWEVER – I hereby temporarily retract that belief.

This kid is a chubby tone-deaf ginger with a voice that sounds like someone tied rubber bands around his balls. The icing on this cake of shame is that he strips to almost naked at the end.

This video doesn’t fill me with Judaic pride. It makes me want to tie this dingleberry to a chair and shoot him repeatedly with a BB gun.

 

Look, I can appreciate that kids want to mark their Judaism in a passionate and creative way. But these over-the-top theatrics make a mockery of the religion.

And distastefully extravagant affairs, of all kinds, seem to be merely a show of affluence and pointless one-upmanship. They’re driven by parents who want to prove that they’ve “made it” and exploit their children’s rites of passage as the vehicle

 

 

Most families, upon receiving the bar mitzvah date a year in advance, start planning in a frenzy. The mothers in particular go crazy, not just interviewing caterers and florists and DJs but also booking face lifts and personal trainers.

I won’t be hiring strippers to pole dance around my kid at his bar mitzvah. I recognize that he’s been working hard, attending Hebrew school since he was 8. So it will still be a celebration of all that he’s accomplished. But not something I need to start planning a year in advance.

I have, however, been threatening – for years – to perform Napoleon Dynamite’s entire talent show dance in front of a crowd.

Little Dude’s bar mitzvah might be just the place.

 

What the hell is going on with these parties?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

 

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