Bar Mitzvah Boy
By J. Kott-Wolle
Oil on Canvas, 24x36, painted 2019
Original photograph taken - 1974
The first Bar Mitzvah I ever attended was my cousin John’s. It was a big milestone because he was the only boy out of ten cousins on my dad’s side. The celebration was pretty lavish with a catered banquet and a live band. When I saw my aunt, uncle and five cousins sitting at the head table they looked like ‘royalty’ to me. In the 70’s there used to be this candle lighting ceremony for Bar Mitzvah boys (I have no idea when this ritual fell out of fashion). It was a way to honor 13 guests by inviting them to stand next to an awkward bar mitzvah boy and light a candle on his Torah shaped birthday cake. Every honoree marched across the dance floor to a ‘theme song’ that the band or DJ played at high volume. The Kott sisters’ song was always (you guessed it!) “We are family – I got all my sisters and me” by Sister Sledge. My cousin John, in his brown velvet tuxedo, did not look amused.