Letters the Week of September 5, 2013


Readers express opinions about tardy Jews and excessive Bar Mitzvah parties.

Stop Being Late for Very Important Dates

In her opinion piece, “You Must Get Thee to the Synagogue On Time,” in the Aug. 29 Exponent, Janet Falon decries “Jewish time.” She calls people who are chronically late offensive and arrogant. I agree that those who are late are disrespectful to the people they keep waiting. It is also disrespectful for the leaders of an event to make those who arrive on time wait for latecomers.

However, Falon’s well-intended screed has two flaws. First, she attributes some individual’s chronic lateness to operating on “Jew­ish time.” Lack of concern for time is a charge levied against many ethnic and national groups. Chronic lateness and lack of respect for others is not a Jewish problem; it’s an individual problem.

Second, by referring to the timing variations of Jewish holidays in the popular calendar, she is “mixing kasha with borsht!” Chan­ukah is neither late nor early. It is right on time every year, in accordance with the lunar calendar by which we measure such things.

Steven Stone, Maple Glen

Excessive Bar Mitzvah: Where’s the Guidance?

With regard to Sam Horowitz’s Bar Mitzvah (“Bar Mitzvah Video Sparks Big Debate,” Aug. 22), I’m more concerned with the tone of the responses to the affair than I am with the affair itself.

Look, if the kid wants a bachelor party instead of a Bar Mitzvah, fine. If he has a younger sister, I hope she’s already whining and stomping her feet to get the Chippendales for her Bat Mitzvah. If the parents have no class or respect for the religious aspect of the ceremony, why should the kids?

The response that somewhat disheartens me is that from Eliyahu Federman, writing in the Forward. He says it’s better to have “an over-the-top ostentatious celebration” than no Bar Mitzvah at all. Huh? Only two choices? Sounds like Bush-Cheney telling us in 2002 that “If we don’t fight the terrorists in Iraq, we’ll have to fight them over here.”

I suggest that there was plenty of middle ground for this Bar Mitzvah. Quite a few wealthy families plan Bar/Bat Mitzvahs without cheapening the religious significance of the occasion.

Even more — much more — disheartening to me is the obvious absence of rabbinical “guidance” in this matter. Didn’t the rabbi put his foot down and say, “No, your plans cheapen not only the religious moment, but the religion itself.”?

Joel Robbins, Havertown

Two Stories in ‘Exponent’ Induce Nausea

Two stories in the Aug. 22 Jewish Exponent made me want to vomit. One was about the 13-year-old in Dallas who thinks his Bar Mitzvah should be a show-biz extravaganza; great wisdom cannot be expected from someone at 13 years of age, so I blame the parents for this expensive garbage, presented as a religious ceremony. The other story concerns the group of Jewish girls showing off their 20-something stupidity on reality TV.

The real reality is that the 13-year-old is light years away from becoming a man, and the group of girls suffer from the “too-much-money-not-enough-brains” syndrome. There is nothing radically “Jewish” about either one of these afflictions.

However, the fact that the youngster — and the girls — use their Jewish heritage to promote their side-shows proves that the term “shmuck” is very much alive in our culture.

James Warren, Wyncote


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