the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Dark Side of the Manischewitz


What ever happened to asking Uncle Lenny to shoot some video at your bar mitzvah? 

Boulevard Video is the most glitzy Los Angeles video production company I’ve ever seen — to do your son’s bar mitzvah!   Will there soon be an Oscar category for best cinematography in a bar or bat mitzvah? 

Check out their cool (but weird) bar mitzvah highlight music video with the Pink Floyd-like soundtrack. (via Joshua Newman)


  1. meghan

    heh heh makes me jealous of jewish boys – perhaps they can document my dog’s bar mitzvah? is that possible?

  2. Charlie

    Shine on, you crazy rabbi. Where’s an inflatable pig floating through the air when you need one? Oh right, that’s not exactly kosher. Creepy video. I need a shower.

  3. Hilary

    Um, those are kind of over the top, don’t you think? I had an awesome bat mitzvah, but it was nothing like any of those. Hell, I didn’t even had a theme. But my sister did–and it was Beverly Hills, 90210. Haha.

  4. Neil

    Hilary, did you go as Brenda Walsh or Andrea Zuckerman?

  5. Neil Parks

    It is sad that these families, and the children in whose “honor” this supposed to be, probably have no idea what it means to become a bar mitzva or a bat mitzva.

    A Jewish boy becomes obligated to keep the mitzvos of the Torah when he reaches 13 years of age. A Jewish girl acquires that obligation at age 12. This occurs regardless of any ceremony or celebration that may be held to mark the occasion.

    Do they even know what being Jewish is all about? Do they think it means only having a big secular 13th birthday party, and maybe going to the temple once or twice a year?

    Their grandchildren won’t be Jewish.

    Wake up, Yidden! What Pharaoh and Haman and Hitler could not do to us, we are doing to ourselves through assimilation.

    Beachwood, Ohio

  6. Neil

    Neil — first of all, I love your first name. Thanks for writing. But you should remember, that as silly as some of these bar mitzvahs are — at least these kids are getting a bar mitvah and continuing the tradition. I don’t see how you can see such dire problems with assimiliation because of Jewish children actually having bar mitzvahs. If there is a problem with the ceremony, it’s not the fault of these kids — the religious ritual needs to change to reflect the fact that these are just kids — and not “men” and “women.” I once wrote a post suggesting that Jews have a bar mitzvah every 13 years. I’m not sure how halachic that is, but why not?

    At this post, there’s also a link to a great article about the modern day bar mitzvah written by Slate writer Emily Bazelon.

  7. Brooke

    Manischewitz. You spelled it wrong. Bad jew! Bad!

  8. Neil

    Oops. I knew it looked wrong, but I checked on Google and it seems like all the goys and bad Jews spell it wrong. Thanks. By the way, Brooke, since you love cooking, my mother makes a great pot roast by pouring in some Manischewitz. You should try it. You may need to drive over to Collins Ave. in Miami Beach to pick a bottle up, though.

  9. Brooke

    You just gave me an idea – a Jewish/Cuban restaurant. Now that would be a smash in Miami!

  10. Neil

    Lobo Pequeno’s Rascal House for bagels and yuca with mojo!

    (I hate to explain a joke but there is a famous Jewish deli in Miami called Wolfie’s Rascal House and the translation of the Spanish Lobo Pequeno is “little wolf” — so a good name for a Jewish/Cuban restaurant in Miami, where everyone seems to be…)

    Look, you can’t expect everything to be funny…

  11. Brooke

    Morty’s House of Pork!

  12. Rachel

    I love that video. Ever seen The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz? He started a business filming bar mitzvahs and the results are hilarious.

  13. amanda

    what about the intro video collage of the the gradually aging 13-year-old set to “forever young”…you can’t have a bar mitzvah video without that…

  14. Anonymous City Girl

    I’m 32 and my mother still likes to break out my bat mitzvah and and my brother’s bar mitzvah videos… it’s just a matter of time before she has them converted to DVD.

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