Ten things I’ve learned from my Bar Mitzvah

  1. When you learn the parsha for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, you have to learn both Hebrew letters and notes. The trick is that when you are actually up at the bimah in front of everybody, the Torah doesn’t have notes in it! So you just have to remember. Luckily, your shitty, adolescent breaking voice will cover up most of your mistakes.
  2. For certain events, it is tradition for people to just hand you envelopes full of money. Italian Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs are similar in this regard.
  3. My Bar Mitzvah was pretty low-key, but I understand that some of the richer, hipper Jewish youth have insane disco parties after theirs.
  4. The worst thing to happen for a Jewish mother is for there not to be enough food at their son’s/daughter’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Oy! God forbid.
  5. “Formal Wear” is a surprisingly relative term.
  6. If you want to find out why so many Jews become stand-up comedians, go to a Bar Mitzvah. What a great audience!
  7. After my Bar Mitzvah, I found out two things: first of all, I found out that the President of the Shul was gay; secondly, I discovered that Mr. Tannenbaum, the man who read our Saturday services, sometimes read from the book and not directly from the Torah. I was unperturbed by the first piece of news, but shocked by the second.
  8. Jewish people, en masse, have ridiculous singing voices.
  9. Ritual is meaningful in and of itself. But don’t look for rationality behind ritual.
  10. The day after your Bar Mitzvah, you are definitely not a man.

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