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She Can Dance If She Want To

Comment of the Week

Dan Klein
March 30, 2012

Winner gets a free Nextbook Press book appropriate to his or her comment (if he or she emails Marc at [email protected] with his or her mailing address).

This week’s winner is Liz, who, commenting on Marjorie Ingall’s essay on the hullabaloo of the modern Bat Mitzvah, shared the D.I.Y. preparations for her daughter’s upcoming ceremony.

I am planning my daughter’s ceremony and party for this coming September. We will have a dj because it’s a celebration and dancing is celebratory. My daughter wants to dance. However, I am not hiring caterers: I, my friends, and my family are cooking. The last thing I want for my daughter is a mini wedding. To Sam’s comment, I would add that if a person is capable of being “shamed into going into debt to pay” for a bar or bat mitzvah party, that is their problem. The fact that other members of my congregation have spent $50,000 on their child’s party has no bearing on me or my daughter. The best thing we can teach our kids about becoming adults is that it is their responsibility to stand up for what they believe in, not what others around them tell them is “required,” and to be true to themselves and their own personalities. They should focus on the ceremony and have a party that makes them—not their parents and their parents’ friends—feel great about their accomplishment. They work hard and deserve to celebrate. At the same time, we are still their parents and can guide and even—gasp—set a limit or two!

I’m going to let Liz decide between Jews and Power for herself—a book celebrating Jews who say “no more”–, or for the Bat Mitzvah, Emma Lazarus, to welcome her to the long line—including, apparently, her mother—of “outlaw” Jewish women.