Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

This is So Not a Way to Become a Jewish Woman

Credit Photo: Dossy Blumenthal

I’m sure many of us have seen the new hit Adam Sandler movie, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, and probably most people will tell you it’s a great movie.

However, as a colleague says:

I’m not catching what you’re throwing.

Superficially, it’s a cute movie about Adam Sandler’s real daughter, Sunny, who plays a character named Stacy. She is planning her bat mitzvah but has boy problems that nearly wreck her relationship with her best friend as well as the big day.

However, the movie is, as they say,

more ‘bar’ (party!) than ‘mitzvah.’

Aside from learning their Torah portion and doing a single mitzvah project, the connection with becoming a Jewish man or woman and accepting G-d’s commandments, worship, and relationship with Him in our everyday lives was sorely lacking. The kids were focused much more on their pool and dance parties, and Stacy was clearly confused and lost.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, Hollywood did a bad-boy blasphemous one when Stacy started to make out with the boy she had a crush on behind the curtain of the holy ark in the synagogue, where the Torahs reside. This was a shocking scene where the movie-makers desecrated the holiness of the scrolls and G-d words to us. Even the fact that they were caught and scolded does not make up for the sexual act on the front stage of the synagogue.

While I am aware of normal modern preteen outfits, the movie repeatedly and overtly sexualizes this 12-year-old girl (and her friends) and, frankly, was offensive to my wife, me, and others we know.

The irreverent movie spent yet more time bringing up TMI and involving the father and friends in the teen’s private female cycle, for example, by showing her bloody menstrual pad floating next to her in a lake while her friends laughed. On top of this, Adam Sandler, her father in real life and in the movie, is shown asking her whether her flow is light, heavy, or chunky!

In terms of wokeness, the movie goes well beyond normal diversity to show explicitly non-Jewish students attending the Hebrew school. In one particular disturbing scene, the kids pepper the hippie Rabbi (her) with the typical questions that teenagers ask about G-d, such as why He lets bad things happen to people and the world. However, instead of a thoughtful and heartfelt answer and reassurance about G-d’s omniscience and unfathomable ways, the Rabbi’s soul-desolate answer, singing along with her guitar-playing cantor, is that “G-d is random. G-d is random.” What a cheap cop-out!

One thing I have seen in my life and from the many, many miraculous stories that my father and grandfather shared with me about their incredible survival of the Holocaust and G-d’s regular providence in our lives is that G-d is most definitely not random.

While everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, this movie goes out of its way to discredit the core beliefs of Judaism, including the first commandment:

I am the L-rd thy G-d.

For those of us who are traditional in our faith and who were expecting some level of authentic representation of Judaism here, it is very disappointing to see instead a mass endorsement of a culture of no-holds-barred narcissistic and materialistic lives where almost everything goes.

To be fair, I believe that Adam Sandler did not mean badly with this movie in that it did show him trying to get the often out-of-control teenagers back on track. It was also nice to see that Stacy was ultimately a good person and friend. However, this Hollywood-ized version of a bat mitzvah and Jewish culture is clearly made for profit and not with a Jewish moral compass in mind and soul.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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