Posts Tagged ‘bar mitzvah’

Katy Perry the Yiddishe Papa

April 24, 2014

This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.


It’s time yet again for another Katy Perry video of questionable taste

In February, more than a few Muslims were offended by the pop singer’s “Dark Horse” music video, which featured her (dressed as Cleopatra) incinerating a character wearing an “Allah” pendant.

Now, with her imitation of a bar mitzvah MC in a promotional video for her new “Birthday” single, it’s the Jews’ turn to complain… maybe.

Click here to read more and watch videos.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Bar Mitzvah Boy Talks Up Gay Marriage

December 4, 2013

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Vocal bar mitzvah boy Duncan Sennett. (photo credit: Robin McAlpine)

Vocal bar mitzvah boy Duncan Sennett. (photo credit: Robin McAlpine)

We’ve heard speeches about marriage equality from just about everyone — activists, lawmakers, judges, celebrities. Now, stumping for the freedom to marry has reached new frontiers with a bar mitzvah sermon that has gone viral on YouTube.

With the video getting 100,000 views in less than a week, it’s evident that it’s not just the members of Congregation Beth Israel in Portland, Oregon, who are impressed with young Duncan Sennett’s take on the Torah.

Moved by Duncan’s passionate presentation, the synagogue’s leadership asked him to get back on thebimah after his November 9 ceremony to give his speech again — this time in front of a camera — so that it could be posted on the synagogue’s website.

While Duncan did a good job of connecting his Torah portion, Vayetze, to marriage equality, it turns out that he was planning to talk about the issue no matter what.

“I knew I was going to do marriage equality,” Duncan told The Times of Israel. “I think it’s just stupid that gay marriage is illegal. Making it legal is just the right thing to do.”

Click here to read more and watch the video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Muhammad Ali’s Grandson’s Bar Mitzvah

June 1, 2012

This post first appeared on The Shmooze blog at the Forward.

We’ve called former world heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali “The Greatest,” “The People’s Champion” and “The Louisville Lip.” Now we might want to also call him “Zaidy” — and a very proud one at that.

The boxing news site “The Sweet Science” reports that the Muslim Ali’s grandson recently became a bar mitzvah. The 13-year-old boy, Jacob Wertheimer, is the son of Ali’s daughter Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer and her husband, Spencer Wertheimer.

“I was born and raised as a Muslim,” Ali-Wertheimer said. “But I’m not into organized religion. I’m more spiritual than religious. My husband is Jewish. No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another. He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture.” Accordingly, Jacob had his bar mitzvah ceremony at Philadelphia’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom on April 28.

Click here to read more.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.