Sunday, March 18, 2007

Great Recent Jewish Innovations

When I think of great recent Jewish innovations, the first ideas to pop up are things like Jewish Funds for Justice or the American Havurah Movement. Until I got an e-mail on the subject, I wouldn't have even thought to consider the bat mitzvah.

Today is the 85th anniversary of the first modern bat mizvah*. Judith Kaplan (later Eisenstein) was publicly recognized as bat miztvah on April 18, 1922 at the SAJ in Manhattan. In the years since, the practice has become so widespread that I rarely remember that there are many people alive today who lived in a pre-bat mitzvah era.

All this, of course, leads me to wonder how recently Coke and Pepsi, inflatable saxophones, and farcically oversized sunglasses developed. Though the saxophones have a certain appeal, it seems clear that the bat mitzvah was the more important innovation for marking this important developmental moment.

*another ritual existed in Italy, I am unsure of the details.


At 3/20/2007 , Blogger BZ said...

A better innovation would be to abolish both bar and bat mitzvahs.

At 3/21/2007 , Blogger shamirpower said...

oh you mean this game?


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