Thinking Differently About B’nai Mitzvah

By Rabbi Daniel Brenner, eJewishPhilanthropy, October 30, 2018

In the wake of #metoo, many families are questioning the practice of hiring young women to fawn over thirteen-year-old boys, but Vegas-style b’nai mitzvah celebrations continue to grab the headlines and to give pre-teens grandiose ideas about the party. Meanwhile, a quiet revolution is taking place in how today’s families are approaching the rite of passage of b’nai mitzvah. Two years ago, I sat with podcast producer Michele Siegel (SlateThe New York Times, and WNYC) and podcast host Sara Ivry (Vox Tablet) discussing the idea of exploring the contemporary b’nai mitzvah experience, untangling the complexities of gender, culture, class, and Jewish identity as they present themselves in family celebrations across the United States, and exploring the rite of passage as a contemporary threshold where a child doesn’t become an adult, but a teen.

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