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."
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.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."
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.)