Thursday, May 05, 2022

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Peter van der Sluijs via Wikipedia.
Peter van der Sluijs via Wikipedia.

Jerusalem, May 5 - A local tweenager whose family and community will mark his transition into Jewish adulthood on the Jewish Sabbath voiced his surprise and dismay that neither the ceremony nor the celebratory buffet to follow will enjoy preservation on video, and his further emotional upheaval at his discovery that despite the lack of uploaded content associated with the transition, his status as an adult Jew will nevertheless have the same validity as any other.

Asaf Ganz, 12, will become a bar mitzva - literally, "subject to commandment" - on the ninth of the Jewish month of Iyar, which this year coincides with Tuesday, May 10. Among other changes, he will then count as one of the ten adult Jewish men who constitute the minimum number for a minyan, or ceremonial quorum that represents the community in spiritual matters. His customary reading from the Torah will take place that Saturday, when Jewish law prohibits the wielding of electronic devices. That prospect frightened the social-media-addicted youth into believing the entire affair might not count, since no one on Tiktok, Instagram, or other networks will get to see it. His devastation gave way to horror when his mother informed him that the validity of his thirteenth birthday, and thus of his passage into maturity, does not depend on its potential for online validation.

"I was stunned," admitted Asaf. "My life is online. All my communication, all my entertainment, all my social interactions - if it's not on my phone, tablet, or, occasionally, a desktop, it doesn't exist. That's just where the world exists. This makes no sense. So of course I was disappointed that I wouldn't be livestreaming anything - I should have realized a long time ago that this would happen, I know, since I never use my devices on Shabbat as it is, but somehow this detail escaped me. I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that something happens if it hasn't been recorded and uploaded to the cloud."

"Not as much trouble as wrapping the t'fillin, though," he acknowledged, referring to the straps of the phylacteries he must now don every weekday. "But at least I got some likes and snarky comments when I shared the videos and stills of putting them on for the first time a month ago."

His mother Sigal, a journalist, expressed some apprehension today at the thought that the festive dinner, which the family will hold the next day for out-of-town guests and extended family, might suffer the same questionable status because no one will live-tweet it.



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