Monday, April 19, 2010

Over-the-Top Bar and Bat Mitzvahs Hit a New High (In Cost) and a New Low (In Taste)

The troubled economy doesn't seem to be affecting parents who insist on spending a million dollars on Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah parties.  

Yesterday the New York Post reported on some of the most lavish, outlandish extravaganzas that rival Las Vegas shows, Broadway shows, and circuses.  In fact, the one they highlighted actually hired performers from Cirque du Soleil to provide the background for the Bat Mitzvah girl as she made her appearance.

Writing in the Post, Stefanie Cohen reports:
Suddenly, the girl herself appeared from behind purple lamé curtains. She was dressed in a cropped circus ringleader jacket -- a duplicate of the one worn by Britney Spears on her "Circus" tour -- a top hat, and fishnet stockings. A troupe of Cirque du Soleil performers surrounded her, and the whole entourage broke into a dance Spears herself would have struggled to pull off. 

The crowd of close to 400 erupted into wild cheers. Her mother wiped away tears of joy. The guest of honor had made her Grand Entrance. The party could commence.
It's supposed to be a bar (for boys) or bat (for girls) mitzvah -- a rite of passage in the Jewish tradition in which a child becomes an adult in the eyes of the community, usually on his or her 13th birthday. But in certain circles of New York City and Long Island, these parties seem less like religious celebrations than coronations.
Ryan Sandler, whose Spears-themed blowout was in October, had the best night of her life. And she deserved every second -- and dollar -- of the reportedly six-figure event, said her mom.
"Your child works hard, she studies the Torah for a year," said Liza Sandler, of Old Westbury, LI, "My kids have values, and they appreciate what we give them. I don't care if people judge how I spend my money."
Plus, she said, unapologetically, "It was a pretty amazing party. You didn't know where to look, there was so much happening in the room. There were contortionists on the ceiling, performers walking on stilts -- it was like going to a show."
Personally, we have nothing against people who work hard and earn a lot of money spending gobs of it on tasteless tacky parties.  After all, it provides income for caterers, waiters, and entertainers and contributes to the local economy.  

But we would have spent it a bit differently, taking the kid and her friends to see a performance of Cirque du Soleil and funding four full years of yeshiva day school for her and for nine of her friends ($25,000 a year for four years times ten equals one million dollars, the reputed cost of the party.) 


  1. I fully agree whith this!
    Good money that could have done so much good gone to waste. And for what? to impress the neighbors?

  2. AS Jews we are not supposed to judge others.
    If you have the money, spend it as you please. She is doing a mitzvah helping others who need the income. She hired many people in the process and I'm sure they appreciate the income.
    As Jews we have an obligation to bring our children up with good values and modest ways. Apparently, the mother was never taught this aspect of our faith. It is the communities responsiblity to help the mother in this area of her life so that she understands Jewish teaching and can then teach it to her children before it's too late. Before they turn into Jappy brats!!!

  3. i think that its important to remember any celebration of becoming bat mitzvah is secondary to the fact the person is now of an age where they have responsibility for their actions