A Berg Above The Rest

yet another jewish controlled media outlet

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Shamu is Jewish?"

There is one thing almost every young Jewish man looks forward to/dreads in his life. His Bar Mitzvah.

Traditionally, the Bar Mitzvah was a celebration of a young boy's passing into manhood at the age of 13. It was when he can officially become part of a minyan and assume his rightful place in temple and on the bima.

In more modern traditions, i.e. Reform, Reconstructionist and even some Conservative synagogues, this is extended to young girls during their Bat Mitzvahs as well. But recently the traditional role of the Bar Mitzvah in the shul has been overshadowed by an even greater aspect...the party.

In recent years, there has been a focus on the Jewish rite of passage...on television or in books. Acts like Ashanti, Jah Rule, 50 Cent , Aerosmith and Tom Petty have pushed back touring to perform on the "Bar Mitzvah Circuit."

American Jews in particular go on to spend thousands...nay...MILLIONS of dollars even, just so their son or daughter can have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah suited for royalty. The outcome is that the young teen forgets entirely about the traditional part i.e. the reading of the haftorah, and focuses too much on the excessiveness of the the party afterwards. Basically, these Jews are completely missing the point.

In response (I'm hoping), writer Mark Zakarin and director Scott Marshall have created a comedy that looks into the deep and philosophical world of...Bar Mitzvah planning.

Keeping Up With The Steins follows the story of Adam Fiedler (Jeremy Piven...check out his interview in Heeb), a hot shot agent in Brentwood, CA whose son (Daryl Sabara) is about to embark on his Bar Mitzvah. While Adam has big plans for the Bar Mitzvah party (in order to show up their neighbors, The Steins), his son Benjamin, has other ideas. He wants to bring his father and estranged grandfather back together. Hilarity, Jewish jokes and funny one-liners ensue.

The movie also stars Jami Gertz (Muffy Tepperman from "Square Pegs"), Doris Roberts, Garry Marshall (Director Scott Marshall's dad), Larry Miller, and Daryl Hannah (I'm guessing as the shiksa girlfriend of somebody.

This is a movie I'm actually kind of excited to see. From the trailer, it seems that this film is questioning the reasons why so many feel the need to spend so much money, when in reality a Bar Mitzvah (like most other Jewish events) should be about family. Plus, it's nice to see a movie where Jews are portrayed in a positive light every once in a while, and where the cast does not include Barbra Streisand.

I keeed, I keeeed.

Keeping Up With The Steins comes out on May 12th.

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