Count me among those kids who had no idea how much his parents spent on his bar mitzvah. I didn’t care—why should I? I only cared about what I got me me me. But now that I’m older, wiser, and wider, that perspective has changed as I recognize that one day, if I’m lucky enough, I’ll likely have to pay for one. Oh, I’m also newly enlightened because a PR person sent me this interesting enough infographic (below) that asserts the average cost of a bar or bat mitzvah is over $17,000. This study, which is based on a pool of only 100, accounts for a number of costs, such as venue fees and food (there better be pigs in blankets).
Cursory Internet research, however, proves that 17 g’s is *nothing* when it comes to the cost of a bar or bat mitzvah. How’s $10 million for ya? That’s what David H. Brooks, the former CEO of a body armor supplier to the U.S. military, reportedly paid for his daughter’s bat mitzvah back in the 2000’s. Brooks, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2013 for fraud, among other crimes, contracted 50 Cent, Tom Petty, and Aerosmith to play at the party. And if you’re looking for more excellent facts about random bar mitzvahs at which famous people made an appearance, look no further than this wonderful Daily Beast gallery, which includes a picture of Snoop looking blazed and eating a massive T-bone streak.
“I performed at a bar mitzvah,” Snoop once told Esquire. “I’m telling you, man, these little motherfuckers, they were singing my shit, they was cussin’, they were singing the dirty version. I’m talking about 12- and 13-year-old little white kids singin’ this real gangsta shit. Man. I was shocked. I just gave them the mic and let them motherfuckers go.” Also on in that photo essay is Drake, who once talked about his bar mitzvah, which took place in an Italian restaurant, presumably in Forest Hill, Toronto, where he grew up. “The song of the night was The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That way.” (Later on, he got bar mitzvahed again—this time with ‘Lil Wayne.)
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.