I haven’t watched this show since the first one not because of the controversy, but because I think it’s horrible. Nevermind the content… In my opinion, it’s just an awful show. But, it appears it’s now ruffling the feathers of more than just the Christian audience:
Via: The Huffington Post
The Sisterhood’s Christian Bar Mitzvah: Can Jewish Ritual Be Borrowed?
My rabbinic networks have been abuzz about the second episode of a new reality TV show on TLC called “The Sisterhood.” I first learned of the controversial episode when someone tweeted the clip to me asking me what I thought. I then sent an article about the episode from The Christian Post to my colleagues in Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders program and an interesting discussion ensued.
The new reality show features Texas couple Brian Lewis and his wife Tara and their children. The show premiered on New Year’s day. In the second episode, the family discusses their preparation for their son’s upcoming bar mitzvah. The couple’s 13-year-old son Trevor however isn’t Jewish and neither are his parents. In fact, Trevor’s father is a Christian pastor who was raised in a Jewish household before converting to Christianity before marriage.
In the show Tara speaks directly to the camera, explaining, “To celebrate our Jewish heritage, we are throwing him a Bar Mitzvah. A Christian Bar Mitzvah.” Brian explains it as more than just a passing of age ceremony and more of a social event.
The notion of a Christian boy celebrating a bar mitzvah was enough to irk many Jewish viewers, but the show ruffled even more feathers by using Jewish ritual items for the occasion. Pastor Brian reveals to his son the tallit that he will wear for his ceremony.
This raises the question of whether Jewish people “own” such concepts as a bar mitzvah and traditionally Jewish ritual garb like a tallit. After all, the Jewish people were not the first people to create entering adulthood ceremonies or prayer shawls (those are likely borrowed from the ancient Egyptians). So, the episode actually encourages an interesting conversation about thekishke (gut) reaction to seeing a religious Christian family appropriating a Jewish life-cycle event and Jewish ritual items. Interestingly, some Jewish people even took exception with the cake prepared for Trevor’s bar mitzvah resembling a Torah scroll.
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