Truths You Can Use

Truths You Can Use


A Bar Mitzvah Boy Goes Viral

bar mitzvah video

A new video is causing a sensation in the Jewish community. Rather than send out a traditional save-the-date card for his Bar Mitzvah (Jewish coming of age ceremony), 12-year-old Daniel Blumen decided to create a rap video.

Weaving in various celebrities and political officials, the video highlights the meaning of his ceremony and his hometown of Atlanta. After a website wrote a story about the video, it went viral, receiving (as of this writing) 318,000 views.

Why the Fuss?

Reactions to the video have ranged from horror to shock to mild bemusement. The overwhelming attitude has been one of frustration.

Many have expressed concern about the focus on entertainment rather than spirituality. Is it appropriate for a religious ceremony to become fodder for a celebrity-laden rap video?

Rather than feel frustration, I watched the video with delight. It is cute, funny, and creative, and it is clear that Daniel is taking his religious studies seriously.

In this case, the medium is not the message. Rather, the message–the importance of his Jewish faith and studies–is enhanced by the medium.

Is There Too Much “Bar” and Not Enough “Mitzvah”?

The broader issue here is the relationship between religion and popular culture. Does engaging with pop culture somehow diminish the meaning of a spiritual message? Does religion’s association with pop stars somehow convey an endorsement of their values?

No and no. Faith does not need to be counter-cultural in order to exert a positive influence. It can use the tools of the larger culture to provide a meaningful critique and perspective on it.

Another broader issue is the meaning and purpose of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Some see it as an unfortunate focus of contemporary Jewish life.

One of my rabbinic precessors forbid Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies at the synagogue because he said they involved “too much bar (drinking alcohol)” and “not enough mitzvah (doing good deeds).”

Living Our Faith

While this is undoubtedly true in some cases, the vast majority of families find Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies to be among the most moving experiences of their lives.

I’ve seen parents break down in tears as they bless their children; grandparents beam with joy as their grandchildren stand before the congregation; children gain self-esteen and confidence as they read from the Bible with poise and insight.  

One of Daniel’s teachers put it best when he said, “The world changes. We’re trying to get kids to take leadership positions and create a new world and not be stuck in the past. We encourage critical thinking and creativity..and a kid who’s put himself out there regarding his faith,  good for him.”

To that all we can say is, “Amen.”

To receive Rabbi Moffic’s weekly digest of Jewish wisdom, click here.



  • http://www.yaconsyrupextract.us yacon syrup free trial

    Billberry is another best natural remedy for
    diabetes. Those under medication for diabetes should take medical advice before starting on these natural diabetes herbs,
    as they have an effect of lowering blood sugar levels and hence may require adjustments in the existing medication and their dosages, as well
    as monitoring of blood sugar levels. Many doctors have attested to these and are becoming popular in the US and in Japan.

  • http://issuu.com/ZelmaVKillinger926254 slendera free trial

    Puffed sleeves and flowing fabrics that don’t hug
    your figure an excessive amount of will also make you appear somewhat thicker and shorter.

    00, but the EW0620-52E Citizen Stainless Steel Watch for
    Women can be purchased for around $100 or less from a couple
    of secure resources online. There is an architecture awaiting the
    book while it is still in its author’s brain; and for want of
    due regard to this architecture’s laws, for want of a sound and shapely anatomy, many a book misses the success-not commercial only, but spiritual as well-which the amount of toil and talent spent on it ought to earn.

Previous Posts

Why We Still Love Fiddler on the Roof After 50 Years
As I child I could not sit through movies or meals. Sitting through a musical was out of the question. Yet, when I was seven, my parents decided to take me to see Fiddler on the Roof. Looking back now as parent of a seven-year-old, I would not have been so bold. Since that first experienc

posted 6:59:14pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Secret to Healing From Pain
I sat with the two children of a mother who had just passed away. They were recounting her life for me in preparation for the funeral. As we spoke, the mother’s long-time caretaker came into the room. She began to speak about their relationship. Though her English was not perfect, the three

posted 12:35:43pm Sep. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Do You Know What Hurts Me? A Story
  A great rabbi went into a bar. He overheard a conversation between patrons.   One said to the other, “Friend, do you love me?” “Of course I do,” the second man replied. “We’ve known each other our whole lives.”   “Then tell me, friend,” said the first man, “

posted 1:01:07pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Does Religion Cause War?
Deadly images on television tear at our heart. We wish for the violence in Israel to end. This land, sacred to three global religions, seems endlessly mired in conflict. Does religion just

posted 12:36:26pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Healing Power of Laughter: The Jewish Genius of Robin Williams
In Jewish tradition we have a special greeting for a genius. Upon meeting such a person, we say, Blessed are You, Eternal God, Source of Life, who has given from His wisdom to flesh and blood.  Had I ever met Robin Williams, I would surely have said it. Williams was a singular genius. He brought

posted 2:26:21pm Aug. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.