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Bar Mitzvah Boys Just Wanna Play Football

Lots of young, Jewish men love football. Apparently, some of them even make the pastime a part of their bar mitzvahs.

Zoë Miller
January 31, 2017

Football, like Jewish tradition, is highly ritualized. The parallels are numerous, ranging from requisite garments (jerseys, tallit) to food reserved for specific occasions (chips for game day, bagel post-shul). An elegant analog, therefore, exists between engaging in this male-dominated sport (as active participant or armchair enthusiast) and becoming a man in the eyes of the Jewish faith. Both are time-honored rites of passage. Thus, in honor of Super Bowl Weekend, I’ve scoured the YouTube-verse for a handful of clips that encapsulate and celebrate the merging of NFL fandom and Bar Mitzvah boy hijinks.

1) A Jewish-inflected sendup of Budweiser’s classic “Whassup?” commercial, this charming parody references Manischewitz rather than the American-style lager, as cantorial music plays in the background.

2) This epic special-effects video makes the bar mitzvah boy, Adam, the star of the Madden video game. According to the description provided by the production company, the montage played as Adam made his ballroom entrance. Now that’s how you start a party.

3) If you’re nostalgic for the ‘80s, check out this heartwarming rendition of the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle―a rap song recorded by the 1985 Bears one month before their victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX—from a 1986 bar mitzvah in Deerfield, Illinois.

4) Dezi, our young multitasking hero, wants to play football when he needs to prep for his bar mitzvah and vice versa. By the end, he decides to bring his bar mitzvah materials to the football field to squeeze in some parshah practice before kickoff.

5) Uploaded by eHow, this is like the Idiot’s Guide to Planning a Football-Themed bar mitzvah. “If you’re doing your football-themed bar mitzvah, you’re going to want to stick with your whole, obviously, football theme,” says the video’s host. Other suggestions include decorating with team pennants and serving stadium fare, such as popcorn. No mention of lox or borscht, for that matter.

Zoe Miller is Tablet’s editorial intern. Follow her on Twitter here.