epic battle: bar mitzvahs vs. communions.

20 May

Something really fun about May is that it’s Communion season. And it turns out that my restaurant is a pretty hot spot for these puppies. With all this talk of religious rites of passage, how can I resist comparing the Communion and everyone’s favorite Jewish party, the Bar Mitzvah:

  1. Balloons. At a Communion, seven minutes before the party starts, the host brings fifteen mylar balloons with either pink or blue crosses on them and they’re all knotted together because they’ve been sitting in her car for the past 4 days getting shoved around during carpool. At a Bar Mitzvah a professional balloon crew arrives three days before the event to erect a balloon ballroom in which to house the party. Guests enter through a balloon hallway and are handed a gold plated balloon which, when popped, sends a firework into the air above them in the shape of their table number.
  2. Centerpieces. At a Communion, the centerpiece is two or three of the cross balloons tied down on some sad looking pansies or one of those giant martini glasses filled with leftover Easter-colored m&ms. To make it a little more sexy, there are some pieces of cross confetti strewn about. At a Bar Mitzvah the centerpiece is constructed from rare orchids and three-dimensional recreations of the Bar Mitzvah boy’s favorite moments in Sports History.
  3. Favors. At a Communion, the favor is a Hershey’s bar with “Jennifer’s First Holy Communion” printed on a piece of paper and taped around the candy bar. Also you get a mint with a cross on it. At a Bar Mitzvah, the candy bar itself is imprinted with a 3-D rendering of each guest’s face. Every kid also receives a camp trunk filled with t-shirts, boxers, shot glasses and hoodies that say “I got leied at Samantha’s Hawaiian Bat Mitzvah Ultra Lounge.”
  4. Music. At a Communion, the music is carefully selected by the programmer at the radio station. Occasionally the hosts play their own (2nd generation) iPods, loaded with Frank Sinatra, Amy Grant and Hall & Oates. At a Bar Mitzvah the Cocktail Hour features both the Long Island Philharmonic and Selena Gomez. The reception is done by EJ the DJ (and their gaggle of pole dancers who “get the crowd pumped”) with a surprise appearance by The Foo Fighters (rockin’ the horah, obv.)
  5. Entertainment. At a Communion, kids are treated to those really awesome little foam thingies that you can stick on other pieces of bigger foam to make exciting shit like foam visors and foam door hangers. There’s occasionally a caricaturist. At a Bar Mitzvah, kids can enjoy a world-famous freak show followed by a one-night-only performance of Cirque du Soleil. Then they are whisked away to Chinatown for dim sum and brought back in a party bus before dessert. At that point they can choose between a reading of “50 Shades of Grey” by the author herself, or a 1 on 1 basketball game with Jeremy  Lin.
  6. Style. The Communion girl dresses like an innocent bride. The morning of her party she may go get a fancy undo that’s heavy heavy heavy on the hairspray and curls, with little roses tucked throughout. Her mom might let her wear some sparkly lipgloss and Mary Janes with teeny tiny heels if she’s one of the lucky ones. On the flip side, the Bat Mitzvah girl dresses more like a slutty bridesmaid than a bride. She has 24″ hair extensions and Keratin treatment, waxed eyebrows, Mink faux lashes, and had her makeup done by the same girl who did JLo before the Academy Awards. Her jewelry is by Harry Winston and her shoes are 5 inch platform stiletto Louboutins.
  7. Fun. Communion girls and their friends practice tap dancing in the hallway between the bathroom and party. Boys play PSP. Bar Mitzvah kids are lifted up on chair while people dance around them, which in many cultures around the globe leads to sacrifice.
  8. Cake. At a Communion the cake came from Costco and cost $16.99 and has a flower cross and the kid’s name is spelled wrong and it doesn’t matter because nobody brought their camera to take a picture of it anyway. At a Bat Mitzvah, each of the fourteen (13 + 1 for good luck if you’re a shiksa) candles gets its own individual 4-tier fondant cake. Each of the 14 cakes is hand painted with scenes from her favorite films of all time (Twilight, Monsters Inc., The Lion King, Fight Club, Harry Potter, The Hangover, Half Baked and some others). The candles are made of human souls and glitter.
  9. God. At a Communion, God is EVERYWHERE – The confetti, the napkins, the plastic tablecloths, the mints, the cake that says “God Bless Redecca” and the Amy Grant tunes. At a Bar Mitzvah, there’s really good sushi and everyone’s talking about the MOBMB’s (Mother of the Bar Mitzvah Boy) new nose was still a little black and blue for weeks to come.
  10. “The Low Key Alternative.” When the family of a Communion boy or girl wants to “keep it low key” they go to the diner after the service with all the grandparents. If they want to make it special they drive an extra 3 miles and go to the good diner, not the one that sometimes there are ants. When the family of a Bar Mitzvah boy wants to keep it low key, they go on a fourteen-day European Cruise and then have a 125 person luncheon after the service with only a DJ and not a DJ and a band.

About the author:  I had lobster at my Bat Mitzvah. I also had a steel drum band, black ladies braiding hair and a casino for the kids. My dress was custom made and the dressmaker created custom matching socks for me to dance in, and there was a beach volleyball court in the corner. At the end of the party, beach balls fell from the ceiling like magic.

About the author’s brother: Brad opted for “the Low Key Alternative” although the cruise was only a week or maybe even less. The luncheon was at our restaurant, duh. He got a headache and slept through the whole thing.


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