Low-Key Bar Mitzvah


In response to Rabbi Tuvia Teldon’s Letter (“Bar/Bat Mitzvah Hype,” May 4), I can add that I was personally touched by the Chabad method of bar mitzvah this past March. When my grandson, who had distanced himself from his father (his parents are divorced), turned 13, his father gave him tefillin. A couple of weeks later, out of the blue, my grandson reunited with his father, a Chabad Jew in Crown Heights. My grandson had said some time ago that he didn’t want a big party — he really doesn’t like to be the center of attention unless it is for his academics (his words). 

My son called me in Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon to tell me that Ariel and his brothers were with him and how would I like to go to a bar mitzvah. I all but ran to the subway and joined my son, his new wife and my three grandsons in Crown Heights. All my grandsons read Hebrew, and my son showed Ariel how to lay tefillin, what prayers to read and, voila, he was a bar mitzvah at Chabad headquarters. I took everyone out for supper, and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. 

Rabbi Teldon is so correct when he says a small birthday party is most appropriate.