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A Bar Mitzvah is an Aramaic term referring to a paternalistic Jewish religious ceremony dating back to ancient times. The purpose of the ceremony was not known until recently, when it was discovered Bar Mitzvahs were a way to exclude others in the community by pretending you knew something they didn't. Under the guise of "becoming a man," the 13-year-old Bar Mitzvah boy -- aka BM Boy -- would see how long he could make up gibberish words. This is because the only source of entertainment is watching the BM Boy blush while his voice cracks.
The origination of the term Bar Mitzvah is not exactly known, but there are many interpretations. The word bar is often thought to have come from the sentence, "How long has grandpa Moishe been at the 'bar'?" A secondary interpretation comes from Polynesia, where a bar is a rigid rod used during Limbo. The bar symbolizes a Jewish mother's unbending refusal to have her male child weasel out of completing this ceremony. Lastly, the term bar has been said to refer to a Jewish mother's obsession with having her son grow up to be a lawyer. Since a bar means a group of attorneys and Mitzvah means good deed, most Jewish scholars believe Bar Mitzvah translates to "It's good to know how to sue someone."
- 538-333 B.C.: The Jews leave Babylon for Palm Springs, Egypt. Having no recognizable skills to speak of, they invent accounting and teach it to boys who are too young to know better. Boys who pass the accounting exam are annointed as Bean Macher, or Big Shot in Charge of Money. This coming-of-age event is celebrated with blessings from the Rabbi, the boy's mother and the slutty teenage girl next door. During a drunken Bacchanal, elderly Jewish women present offerings of pickled herring and finely minced egg salad. The women coin the phrase Mazel Tov, inaugurating the very first Bar Mitzvah-like event.
- 1656: The first Jewish doctor arrives in the United States. Little did he know, no one would care for at least another 44 years.
- 1700s: Pre-adolescent boys are drafted into service as attorneys and doctors, mainly because no one else wants to chase ambulances or examine disgusting Bowel Movements. Graduation from medical school or passing the bar is celebrated with blessings from the Rabbi, the boy's mother and a slutty coed in a nearby dorm. During the post-graduation frat party, elderly Jewish women present offerings of pickled herring and finely minced egg salad.
- Late 1800s to Early 1900s: Old Jews move to the United States on an emigration pogrom, dragging their reluctant families along, and partially emptying Europe in the process (thus forming the Alps when the continent tips to the north). They establish New York, New Jersey and Boca Raton, Florida. Several years later, their male offspring establish Baltimore, Maryland. Each city dedication is celebrated with blessings from the Rabbi, the mayor's mother and a slutty young divorcee met at a Jewish singles party. During city council meetings, elderly Jewish women present offerings of pickled herring and finely minced egg salad.
- November 22, 1963: Emphasis on the spiritual aspect of the Bar Mitzvah is systematically replaced with references to lavish gifts and huge galas, because "there is no G-d" apparently. During a national week of mourning, elderly Jewish women present offerings of Noodle Kugel to their Catholic neighbors. Reform Judaism replaces the Bar Mitzvah with the Confused Yet ceremony, only to reinstate the Bar Mitzvah in early 1964 (along with the Beatles' arrival).
- June 22, 1979: Party themes start appearing at Bar Mitzvah galas, thus confusing everyone.
- December 25, 1983: Confusion of party themes solved by covering up all party decorations in glitter.
- November 9, 1989: Plastic goodies become widely available at Bar Mitzvah parties, along with annoying bands and DJs.
- September 11, 2001: Some rabbi rediscovers spiritual aspects of bar mitzvahs, but party-lovers smother him in appeals for continuing the party lifestyles.
Since 27% of Nobel Prize Winners are Jewish, Jews should be able to figure this one out for themselves. For those who have not yet earned a Nobel Prize, here are step-by-step instructions for creating a Bar Mitzvah event.
Before you begin, unzip your pants. If you see a penis with a faint scar, you're eligible to proceed. Remember to zip back up. Be sure you know some Yiddish (such as Oy vey iz mer!, which translates to OMGWTFBBQ).
- (If Reform) Pose for hundreds of official pictures before the event, covering everything from you holding a Torah to your untied shoelaces to the nasty zit on your right cheek. (If Conservadox, do so before Shabbos, otherwise, your relatives will go tsk-tsk and pinch like a rattlesnake.)
- Sigh heavily. Drag yourself up to the Bimah (which is either some kind of raised platform or some kind of automobile), avoiding eye contact with anyone over the age of 13. Gesture like you're going to give the Rabbi a high five, then move your hand at the last minute so (s)he misses. Pick up your tallis from the floor (where it will have fallen) and kiss it, and pick up your prayerbook, too, and kiss it, as you dropped it while picking up your tallis. Do same with your yarmulka, and repeat until the Rabbi starts doing it for you.
- Stare at the ceiling while others are talking. Make sure you flash the "thumbs up" sign a few times to your pals in the third row, and your parents, and your sister, and your Rabbi, etc.
- Fake out the Rabbi again by pretending you're going to drop the Torah. Juggle the decorative items as they are removed from the Torah one by one. Smile sheepishly. Carry Torah around and gawk at the girls coming to kiss it.
- Before you begin, clear your throat several times very loudly, then pretend to stifle a belch. Make sure the mike has feedback.
- Stumble through the Hebrew by purposely speeding up and slowing down at unpredictable times. Substitute Pig Latin or Yiddish whenever possible. Remember to chant off-key or in an irritating monotone. Do a little dance.
- During the readings, pause a few times dramatically. Your pauses should be as long and as uncomfortable as you can make them. Your parents will think you screwed up and forgot your training. During his boring follow-up remarks, the Rabbi will claim the Hebrew text actually meant something to you personally.
- If you have to give a sermon about your Torah portion, compare your Torah portion to the prank your brother and sister did the other night (especially if an outhouse is involved), add some boring crap about responsibility to the world, and make sure everyone's sound asleep by the time the Rabbi starts with his boring remarks.
- If anyone throws sweets at you when you're done, pick up the hard candy pieces and use them to bean the old ladies in the front row who showed up with your Aunt Rachel. You never liked those smelly old biddies anyway.
- Hug your parents. Thank them publicly for encouraging you to (a.) pursue an education, (b.) embrace tradition and (c.) masturbate in private.
- Sigh heavily. Smile. Laugh. (You're done. It's time to party.)
Special Notes: At no time should your facial expression indicate you are enjoying yourself (unless, of course, you actually ARE enjoying yourself). Endeavor to look miserable, so everyone knows you were forced into this (unless you happen to be in a good mood).
No Bar Mitzvah is complete without the after party. Here are simple instructions for staging your own Bar Mitzvah festivities, sans the overpriced buffet.
Every Bar Mitzvah should have a theme, which is one of the few ways to make the event fun, memorable and expensive when compared to the dozens of other Bar Mitzvahs taking place over the year. Acceptable Bar Mitzvah themes include Hooters, the War in Iraq, banks and Jewish gangsters, and vulgar references to Disney films. Party goer giveaways should include a variety of theme-related, but totally useless, inflatables, like huge penis-like microphones, breast implants and blow-up sex dolls.
Why spend thousands of dollars on punch with 10% fruit juice and barely defrosted petit fours, provided by a Synagogue- or Temple-approved caterer? If given advance notice, McDonalds can whip up a unique spread of delectible yummies at nearly triple the cost of traditional home-cooked fare.
Bar Mitzvah celebrations include several required rituals designed to reveal a young man's total disregard for parental authority and willingness to embrace tacky trends. Here are but a few.
A feier zol im trefen
During this ritual, the Bar Mitzvah boy is obligated to start lots of little fires, dedicating each flame as he goes. The pyrotechnic display begins with pouring gasolline on the nearest bald man and lighting it. As the man's skull caves like a soft marshmallow, the young man utters thanks for everything the man did while the boy grew up. With any luck, this man is a total stranger, which means the boy hasn't jeopardized any of his important business or familial relationships by setting him on fire.
- Step to right with right, slide left together.
- Step to right with right, slide left together.
- Step to right with right, slide left together.
- Right hand goes out palm down.
- Left hand goes out palm down.
- Right palm up.
- Left palm up.
- Right hand to left shoulder.
- Left hand to right shoulder.
- You put your right foot in.
- You put your right foot out.
- You put your right foot in and shake it all about like your tuchas is as big as J-Lo. You should have her money!
Useful Facts About Bar Mitzvahs
- Shrimp is only Kosher during Bar Mitzvah and Wedding receptions.
- The female version of this ceremony is called either a Bat Mitzvah or Bra Mitzvah, which, either way, translates loosely to rich slut.
- In Tucson, Tuscaloosa and all other cities beginning with the letter T, a Bar Mitzvah costs more than four years of tuition at an Ivy League college. It is not uncommon for parents to refinance their homes to pay for this prestigious coming-of-age ceremony, only to have their teenage son join a far east religious cult one month after the festivities.