- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Jewish Lights; 3 edition (February 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580232221
- ISBN-13: 978-1580232227
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Putting God on the Guest List, Third Edition: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah 3rd Edition
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From Library Journal
This book is destined to enjoy great popularity, for it addresses an important Jewish life cycle occasion in an exciting, contemporary style. The catchy title reflects the tone of the book. In illuminating the meaning of the bar mitzvah ritual, Salkin covers all bases: history, sociology, and religion. Recognizing that the bar mitzvah is an emotional event, particularly in families that are not observant, he explains its significance as a link in the unbroken chain of Jewish tradition as well as a rite of passage. The chapter on the highlights of the Sabbath prayers is useful. Throughout, Salkin offers instant answers to the perplexing questions of faith and belief. In our age of instant gratification, this approach has great merit and appeal. For most Judaica collections.
- Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"An invitation to all families to link the sacred act of 'going up' to the Torah with the sacred process of ‘growing up’ in faithfulness to God and community."
―Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (Reconstructionist), Beth-El Zedeck Congregation, Indianapolis
“I hope every family planning a bar or bat mitzvah celebration reads Rabbi
―Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (Conservative), author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Shows the way to restore spirituality and depth to every young Jew’s most important rite of passage.”
―Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (Orthodox), author of Jewish Literacy
“Raises the questions that most need to be asked at every bar and bat mitzvah.”
―Rabbi Laura Geller (Reform)
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Top customer reviews
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Nita Polay Levin,
Religious School Director,
East Brunswick Jewish Center
The attitude in the book is decide what is important to you as a child reaching the age of bar/bat mitzvah and your family then work together to weave that into your thinking and planning.
I think the book takes the approach that the young person is stepping through to young adulthood and it is a process to grow up and become a "good" person or Jew - perhaps it is a lifelong event. The book seeks to make the occasion mindful of what the young person and her or his family values.
Suggestions abound in the book as to how to incorporate these values into the whole event - before, during and after.
The book covers all angles - relationship of bar or bat mitvah child to self, family, friends, community, humanity, spirit...cynical or devout children.
My suggestion: read it cover to cover, discuss it then make judgments.
By the way, "God" has many different meanings depending on who one speaks to...
I just gave the book four stars due to "God" in the title which was a turnoff if one doesn't open the book and read it if the potential reader is not from a traditional background. In our intermarried family, I am a somewhat secular Jew and my husband evolved into an atheist who was raised as a Catholic. He had trouble with the title having "God" in it.
However, we both agree on "Jewish/human" values which are common to many cultures not just Jews: caring for the environment, kindness, compassion, helping fellow humans by visiting the sick/elderly, helping animals, eating with consciousness and so forth.
I did like the way Salkin addresses the "God" issue and skeptical children (you'll just have to read it yourself with an open mind...).
I particularly liked the section on mitzvahs (usually translated as "good deeds" and literally "commandments") in the ceremony itself...
This was especially relevant to me as I volunteered on my shul's environmental committee. My child volunteered at an animal shelter and his Torah portion had to do with the ten plagues which he related to modern day ills such as pollution, clearing of forests, global warming, animals on the brink of extinction such as polar bears and so on.
This book inspired me to make a tallit (prayer shawl) for him from fabric made of reclaimed wood, with designs incorporating trees, water, stars and sailboats. Growing up, our family did not attend a synagogue but stayed close to nature by sailing.
Also, much thought was given to the party afterwards as a result of this book - location was accessible to walkers as well as those who use public transportation or are physically challenged, carpools were set up, Kosher fair trade coffee was served, vegetarian food was served (even the carnivores liked it), tried to obtain local produce (try that in winter in New Jersey!), recycled/recyclable paper/plastic ware ware was used - then recycled again, decorations on the table consisted of framed certificates re donations to Jewish National Fund planting trees in Israel, leftover food was donated to local food pantry serving homeless and so on...
I would recommend this book to anyone or any family, regardless of Jewish denomination: secular, reform, reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, Conservadox, Modern Orthodox, unaffiliated, Secular Humanist, interfaith, intermarried, other...
Again, read it in its entirety while keeping an open mind then make judgments and plans.
Post Script: the funny thing is now that our son is post bar mitzvah, he describes himself as an atheist Jew, but he maintains a strong connection to Judaism and Jewish/human values by volunteering to help elderly folks by clearing snow from driveways without pay, teaching computer skills, visiing the sick, caring for animals, putting together Purim baskets, joining Jewish teen group based on Israeli style youth groups, singing Jewish songs in Yiddish or Hebrew, helping others improve their Hebrew (like his mom, now studying with her B'nai Mitzvah class), studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at shul, discussing what it means to be a (G-d optional) Jew...