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GeoBQn

Bontrager Bar Mitzvah

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Mela99

I really don't get it...

If they want a coming of age or manhood ceremony, why not invent their own? They're not Jewish. That's the hallmark of growing up Jewish.

Anybody Jewish perturbed by this?

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GeoBQn

I am perturbed by this, though it seems to be isolated. On the TLC reality show The Sisterhood, about preacher's wives in Atlanta, there was a couple that gave their son a Christian bar mitzvah. It was a different situation, because the father was born and raised Jewish and converted to Christianity as an adult. They basically wanted their son to have an actual Jewish bar mitzvah with Jesus thrown in. They got a "messianic rabbi" to lead it and expected the kid to say the Shema and other Hebrew prayers even though, six weeks before the ceremony, he had never learned Hebrew. (The best part of the episode was when the Jewish bar mitzvah party planner was shaking her head in response to the inaccurate statements made by the parents.) After the ceremony, the other preachers wives talked to the camera about how ridiculous the whole thing was.

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IReallyAmHopewell
I don't understand why fundies who appropriate Jewish customs try to link them back to the Bible as a way to justify their stupidity.

No, it let's them deny that Christ died for their sins and brought the New Covenant thereby freeing them to return to Old Testament legalism, which they adore--no pork, etc. It's the legalism that is wonderful. Being under the New Covenant is hard--much easier to follow a list of rules............. :angry-banghead:

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IReallyAmHopewell
And on a related note, why do so many fundies think their precious blessings can sing? The Bontrager Family Singers = nails on a chalkboard.

Gothard wants families to be constantly together--at home, at work or "ministering to others" hence the many terrible dog and pony shows. And every child, I believe, is to learn the violin because classical music very badly played on really cheap instruments is "Joyful noise unto the Lord." Personally, I picture Jesus with earbuds and an iPod when groups like this are singing. I'm sure the song he plugs into is "Let it Be...." :evil:

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Ralar

Only in name did the Bontrager event resemble a bar mitzvah celebration. Bar mitzvah, litereally, means "son of the comandments" -- i.e., one who is now required to follow the commandments (all 613 commandments). The celebration is not the bar mitzvah. In fact, there is no such thing as "being bar mitzvahed" or "having a bar mitzvah." One becomes a bar mitzvah.

In the Bible, a man reached the age of majority at age 20, when he was eligible for war and taxation. In talmudic times, the age of majority was moved to 13, and in recognition of the son's change in status, the father pronounced a blessing in which he praised God for relieving him of responsibility for his son's conduct. But no celebration marked the occasion.During the talmudic era and early medieval times, a (bar mitzvah) ceremony made no sense, because a minor was permitted to participate in all religious observances as soon as he was considered mentally fit [to do so]. He was called up to an aliyah to say blessings over the Torah and was supposed to wear tefillin, or phylacteries. The minor was even encouraged to fast on Yom Kippur. Gradually, during the later Middle Ages, this situation underwent a change. The religious rights that the Talmud accorded to the minor were now restricted. He was deprived of the right to be "called up" to the reading of the Torah. He was no longer permitted to wear tefillin. The attainment of majority gained new importance as an attainment of new religious rights, and the ground was prepared for a ceremony around the bar mitzvah, as a boy 13 years old was beginning to be called.

Laying tefillin and being called up to the Torah, became the most essential features of the bar mitzvah observance. In the 16th century it was obligatory to call up the bar mitzvah lad to the reading of the Torah on the Sabbath coinciding with or following his 13th birthday.

In the 17th century among the German Jews in Worms, the lad was dressed in new clothes bought especially for this occasion. On the Sabbath of his bar mitzvah, he chanted the entire Torah portion. If he happened to have a pleasant voice, he also recited all the prayers before the congregation. Some lads who were not so well versed in Hebrew led only one of the services, either the evening prayers (Maariv), the morning prayers (Shacharit), or the additional Sabbath prayers (Musaf). There were boys who were not able to recite even the week's Torah portion, but every bar mitzvah boy was called up to [make the blessings on] the reading of the Torah.

There is, in modern times, no uniformity in the bar mitzvah celebration. The bar mitzvah may read the entire Torah portion, the maftir (final portion), the haftarah, or some combination of these, and may deliver a drasha, but he would definitely have an aliyah. In America, the bar mitzvah celebration plays an important role in Jewish life and is often accompanied by a fancy party and gifts.

Something new to me: Unlike the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim do not restrict the rights of the minor. The Sephardim still adhere to the talmudic law, which allowed a minor to put on tefillin and to be called up to the reading of the Torah, and they celebrate bar mitzvah in their own distinctive way. Primarily, the Sephardim celebrate the first laying of tefillin, which takes place exactly a year before attaining majority. On that day, the parents hold a sumptuous feast for all their relatives and friends, and the boy, if capable, delivers a drasha on a topic pertaining to the occasion. Only the rich hold a second celebration a year later, when the boy reaches his majority.

If anyone can enlighten me, I'm interested in knowing what made the Bontrager coming of age event a "bar mitzvah."

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Arete

Ralar, you can't confuse the fundies with the facts. :roll: It hurts their brains.

Thank you for taking the time to post that detailed explanation, it is very informative.

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ari_belle
I really don't get it...

If they want a coming of age or manhood ceremony, why not invent their own? They're not Jewish. That's the hallmark of growing up Jewish.

Anybody Jewish perturbed by this?

Yes. Very. And I am only a half Jew, on my dad's side, and we are only culturally Jewish. I'm actually a pretty liberal Christian. And this pisses me off SO MUCH AHHHHH :evil:

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PennySycamore
The older kids handle their instruments pretty well, I actually kind of liked their sound. But the little kids singing...yeeeecccchhh. Just because they are cute and little does not mean they can sing worth a damn. They probably would be OK if someone gave them a couple vocal lessons.

OK, I'll say it... I don't particularly like hearing most kids sing although the Bontragers are worse than most. I particularly dislike hearing kids butcher "Away in a Manager" and for some reason, that carol is usually assigned to children's choirs. The vocal range of that song is pretty big.

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DistantStar

Same here, ari_belle, even to my dad's side being Jewish and religiously being a liberal Christian - at least if I do something Jewish, I KNOW WHAT THE $%*@ I AM DOING. I tend to take the fundie fake-Judaism pretty personally. Pisses me right off, it does.

Can't they just come up with their own verson of Confirmation or something? And I mean Christian confirmation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a coming-of-age event, but why try to pathetically copy somebody else's?

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gustava
Only in name did the Bontrager event resemble a bar mitzvah celebration. Bar mitzvah, litereally, means "son of the comandments" -- i.e., one who is now required to follow the commandments (all 613 commandments). The celebration is not the bar mitzvah. In fact, there is no such thing as "being bar mitzvahed" or "having a bar mitzvah." One becomes a bar mitzvah.

In the Bible, a man reached the age of majority at age 20, when he was eligible for war and taxation. In talmudic times, the age of majority was moved to 13, and in recognition of the son's change in status, the father pronounced a blessing in which he praised God for relieving him of responsibility for his son's conduct. But no celebration marked the occasion.During the talmudic era and early medieval times, a (bar mitzvah) ceremony made no sense, because a minor was permitted to participate in all religious observances as soon as he was considered mentally fit [to do so]. He was called up to an aliyah to say blessings over the Torah and was supposed to wear tefillin, or phylacteries. The minor was even encouraged to fast on Yom Kippur. Gradually, during the later Middle Ages, this situation underwent a change. The religious rights that the Talmud accorded to the minor were now restricted. He was deprived of the right to be "called up" to the reading of the Torah. He was no longer permitted to wear tefillin. The attainment of majority gained new importance as an attainment of new religious rights, and the ground was prepared for a ceremony around the bar mitzvah, as a boy 13 years old was beginning to be called.

Laying tefillin and being called up to the Torah, became the most essential features of the bar mitzvah observance. In the 16th century it was obligatory to call up the bar mitzvah lad to the reading of the Torah on the Sabbath coinciding with or following his 13th birthday.

In the 17th century among the German Jews in Worms, the lad was dressed in new clothes bought especially for this occasion. On the Sabbath of his bar mitzvah, he chanted the entire Torah portion. If he happened to have a pleasant voice, he also recited all the prayers before the congregation. Some lads who were not so well versed in Hebrew led only one of the services, either the evening prayers (Maariv), the morning prayers (Shacharit), or the additional Sabbath prayers (Musaf). There were boys who were not able to recite even the week's Torah portion, but every bar mitzvah boy was called up to [make the blessings on] the reading of the Torah.

There is, in modern times, no uniformity in the bar mitzvah celebration. The bar mitzvah may read the entire Torah portion, the maftir (final portion), the haftarah, or some combination of these, and may deliver a drasha, but he would definitely have an aliyah. In America, the bar mitzvah celebration plays an important role in Jewish life and is often accompanied by a fancy party and gifts.

Something new to me: Unlike the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim do not restrict the rights of the minor. The Sephardim still adhere to the talmudic law, which allowed a minor to put on tefillin and to be called up to the reading of the Torah, and they celebrate bar mitzvah in their own distinctive way. Primarily, the Sephardim celebrate the first laying of tefillin, which takes place exactly a year before attaining majority. On that day, the parents hold a sumptuous feast for all their relatives and friends, and the boy, if capable, delivers a drasha on a topic pertaining to the occasion. Only the rich hold a second celebration a year later, when the boy reaches his majority.

If anyone can enlighten me, I'm interested in knowing what made the Bontrager coming of age event a "bar mitzvah."

Thank you for this information. Would you also explain "aliyah" and "laying tefillin"? I googled both but don't understand. And as others have said, fundies are not logical. The whole notion of Messianic Judiaism is simply ludicrous.

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bananacat

It's ok to get excited over many taco toppings, but not really blogworthy, IMO. Did they really need more than one picture of it? Take it to Instagram, hipster fundies!

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divadivine
From the comments

:lol:

Wow (after seeing a catholic baptism.) I think I'll do this if I have a baby, that candle is awesome.

The possibilities for stupid people are endless.

Don't lie, you know you really want the baptismal garment and the candle. So, go have some sweet fellowship and make a baby for Jesus. Get the candle and garment!

I was sad when I converted and didn't get a baptismal candle and garment because I had already been baptized in another faith and we only do baptism once. I got over it when I got to hold my god daughter over the baptismal font and present her to the priest for baptism.

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divadivine
Oh c'mon. Lamest bar mitzvah ever.

On of my gf's had Ed McMahon at hers, and as I understand it she had a pretty low key celebration. I've heard of some pretty off the chain bar and bat mitzvahs, so I'm hardly impressed :P

I worked at a camp one summer and a majority of the girls were Jewish. I heard some fabulous stories about Bar, Bat, and B'nai Mitzvahs. The families were spending as much or more on the celebration as some people spend on weddings and wedding receptions. Heck, the Bontrangers didn't even give out the personalized t-shirts or pillowcases to the attendees. Most def lamest Bar Mitzvah Ev-ah!

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Sumeri

Okay, the appropriation is awful. The decorations are terrible. But what I want to know is WHY all these fundie buffet lines have little hand printed cards explaining what is in every single bowl? Do the guests not recognize olives and cheese?

Whew, I feel better now. Just a couple weeks ago we had pictures from another fundie fete that had the same thing, including how the tea was brewed.

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Rescinded and Mended

Why didn't they have their party inside the house? I bet that garage was hot, and the walls were unfinished plywood - it looked like the family decorated an unfinished construction site. Couldn't they have held their celebration indoors, where it was air-conditioned and more comfortable?

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DistantStar

There is a family that has had both a bar and a bat mitzvah at the resort I work for over the last few years. They must really like it here. And I know, as they are not only traveling but are coming from Canada, that they must be dropping serious $$$ to pull off these events. I am not all that far from BC, but still! It is CRAZY what some people will spend as where I work is very nice but not a cheap place to have an event at. Weddings, yes, but all that for a bar or bat mizvah? :pink-shock: (No offence intended to the young people in question, but I sense a bit of overkill here!)

The few bar or bat mitzvahs I've been to, there might be an after-party elsewhere for the younger set but the party I attended involved somewhat more extensive food than the usual after-service spread but nothing much else. And I suspect said later party probably was at the honoree's house or the skating rink or something like that.

I would actually appreciate little signs telling me what the food is on a buffet if it isn't instantly identifiable. I'm a bit of a picky eater. And it's helpful if somebody has allergies or intolerances, not just my aversions.

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Ralar

Thank you for this information. Would you also explain "aliyah" and "laying tefillin"? I googled both but don't understand. And as others have said, fundies are not logical. The whole notion of Messianic Judiaism is simply ludicrous.

Aliyah: The honor of being called up to recite one of the blessings over the Torah.

Tefillin 101: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1918251/jewish/Tefillin-101.htm

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Gingi1976
I really don't get it...

If they want a coming of age or manhood ceremony, why not invent their own? They're not Jewish. That's the hallmark of growing up Jewish.

Anybody Jewish perturbed by this?

Long time lurker. First time FJ poster. And card carrying MOT (Member of the Tribe). I am disgusted by the Bontrager Bar Mitzvah. Personally, I find it offensive when people cannibalize my religious traditions with little to no respect for the meaning behind those traditions. Especially since they wouldn't hesitate to condemn me for not accepting JC.

My other favorite? The time my real estate broker learned we were Jewish and she invited us to her church's "Passover Seder." Um no.

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Ralar

Long time lurker. First time FJ poster. And card carrying MOT (Member of the Tribe). I am disgusted by the Bontrager Bar Mitzvah. Personally, I find it offensive when people cannibalize my religious traditions with little to no respect for the meaning behind those traditions. Especially since they wouldn't hesitate to condemn me for not accepting JC.

My other favorite? The time my real estate broker learned we were Jewish and she invited us to her church's "Passover Seder." Um no.

My daughter and I were invited to accompany a friend and her kids their church's "Passover seder." It was an "innocent mistake" and I'm sure my friend has no idea how off putting her invitation was.

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PurpleSheepleEater

That was "more elaborate"?

They took a picture of cup stacks. :evil-eye:

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julie paradox

OK, I'll say it... I don't particularly like hearing most kids sing although the Bontragers are worse than most. I particularly dislike hearing kids butcher "Away in a Manager" and for some reason, that carol is usually assigned to children's choirs. The vocal range of that song is pretty big.

Pretty big? It's a ninth. Any child that can hit the right note one out of three can sing middle C and the D a ninth above it.

I think it gets given to children because the tune is quite simple. The second half is almost identical to the first, and the half splits into theme and answering phrase. The largest jump is soh-doh which is easy. Also, the words come in short bursts of rhyming couplets.

We used to sing as a family group (my mum and six children, only the youngest of whom was a boy). We sang mostly unaccompanied, in two and three parts. And we DIDN'T use microphones.

I agree that the instrumentalists make a good noise. At least two of them appear to be aware that their baby siblings don't!

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OnceModestTwiceShy
There is a family that has had both a bar and a bat mitzvah at the resort I work for over the last few years. They must really like it here. And I know, as they are not only traveling but are coming from Canada, that they must be dropping serious $$$ to pull off these events. I am not all that far from BC, but still! It is CRAZY what some people will spend as where I work is very nice but not a cheap place to have an event at. Weddings, yes, but all that for a bar or bat mizvah? :pink-shock: (No offence intended to the young people in question, but I sense a bit of overkill here!)

The few bar or bat mitzvahs I've been to, there might be an after-party elsewhere for the younger set but the party I attended involved somewhat more extensive food than the usual after-service spread but nothing much else. And I suspect said later party probably was at the honoree's house or the skating rink or something like that.

I would actually appreciate little signs telling me what the food is on a buffet if it isn't instantly identifiable. I'm a bit of a picky eater. And it's helpful if somebody has allergies or intolerances, not just my aversions.

I went to school in a pretty wealthy area, and most of the kids had their Bar/Bat Mitzvah afterparty in a private room at a restaurant with a DJ. Seriously, it was just the norm. My family (we lived in the next town over) was very poor at the time that I had my Bat Mitzvah, and we had a DIY afterparty in the "function room" of our apartment building. I was too embarrassed to invite more than a few friends.

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latraviata
"Lamest bar mitzvah ever."

I don't know what that was or what it was supposed to be, but it wasn't a bar mitzvah.

And on a related note, why do so many fundies think their precious blessings can sing? The Bontrager Family Singers = nails on a chalkboard.

E4YCVCCdkvk

Bloody awful!!!!!! :o

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auntsally28

Oh come on...they just take the bits of the bible they like, ignore the bits they don't and find a nice co-ordinated party theme to go with it. Like all fundies....and I am blatantly generalizing....

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