Car 54 Where Are You? - See You at the Bar Mitzvah

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On March 3, 1963, television viewers were treated to an episode of the comedy Car 54, Where Are You? entitled “See You at the Bar Mitzvah.

In this episode the lead characters, New York police officers Toody and Muldoon, try to help a boy who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. During a post-game huddle they learn that the young man is despondent because no one wishes to attend his Bar Mitzvah, as his father has a reputation in town as a merciless landlord.

When a child become a young man or young woman through the B’nai Mitzvah, he or she becomes an adult under Jewish law, a Son or Daughter of the Commandment. The child becomes a man or woman in the sense that he or she makes a commitment to study, perform good deeds, and become a full member of the community. In doing so, the young man or woman becomes a light of inspiration and a blessing to his or her parents and to others.

In August 2019, The New York Times published a moving article about an autistic young man named Mickey who studied to become Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue in New York City. Rabbi Buchdahl made special CDs to help the young man, whom medical experts said might never learn to speak, to learn the Hebrew blessings and prayers. Mickey loved the music, and that music remains in his heart to this day. Through becoming Bar Mitzvah, Mickey has become a blessing and inspiration to many. His love of the Hebrew liturgy has led his parents to celebrate Shabbat more fully.

The moving episode of Car 54, Where Are You? reflects a wonderful passing down of the faith that is never ending.

Written by Julie Piper

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