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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Honest Bar Mitzvah Speech

Honest Bar Mitzvah Speech

Not bad as a comic routine and as an honest depiction of the world view of a thirteen-year-old boy.

The problem starts when some people hold on to the same ideas well into their adult years, without reexamining them. Then they become stale and limited.

Thank God for cynical Bar Mitzvah boys.


About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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26 Responses to “Honest Bar Mitzvah Speech”

  1. John Keytack says:

    Nice boy.

  2. Violet Helms says:

    Sad. What is missing from his education, and his life, that would cause his doubts? I have heard speeches similar to this at b’nai mitzvahs, and it made the service seem mocking and hollow. My hope for him is that he does find where G-d is in his life.

  3. Diana Heres says:

    Kids are what the parents teach them….If there’s no good base at home this is the result…G-d/Hashem gives us each day a miracle and that is waking up and see the sunrise, if you don’t appreciate it, then you are not a believer!!!! Truly sad and I didn’t find it funny at all….

  4. The Guardian says:

    Is Joshie’s Shul Orthodox, Conservative or Reform? Let’s vote. (Hint, Joshie’s Parsha was videotaped in the Sanctuary on Shabbat).
    PS – Did you see how Joshie’s parents were beaming! I’d like to say thank you to Joshie and his family. I no longer fear for the future of our People. Whew, what a relief!

  5. ChristinaJonson says:

    All of us need to study more, understand more, listen more…
    and perhaps then some of these questions can be answered…

  6. Michael Gordon says:

    I hope he continues looking for these answers. The Bar Mitzvah should be the beginning of Jewish education, not the end.

  7. Andrea Aronofsky Pernikoff says:

    I felt so sad watching this – and the Reform & Conservative movements wonder why they are losing people? May Hashem help him find answers and lead him to the Torah

  8. Benyamin Blatt says:

    Was this recorded on Shabbos and then uploaded to this website? Regardless of what the boy said, I can't imagine that recording it on Shabbos and uploading here could be halachic. Unless of course if the boy and the "rabbi" and his parents were all non-Jews. No sarcasm is intended. I really don't know if any of them are Jews or are not Jews. But I know that recording a bar-mitzvah speech even if it was recorded by a non-Jew at the behest of a Jew is asur, regardless if the congregation is Deformed or Self-Servative.

  9. what is the point of being Jewish if you do not believe in God… ridiculous…

  10. Keith Kaplan says:

    Did you write this on shabbos or say it on shabbos and then upload it to this website? Did someone tell you about this site on shabbos?

    Good grief…. There was a time in life in which granting the benefit of the doubt was considered a halachic imperative. There was also a time in life in which Bar Mitzvot happened on any day you wanted, perhaps a Thursday.

    Do not presume anything about another. When you start pointing your finger, 3 point back at you.

    You have been warned.

  11. Stupid parents. Stupid children. !

  12. Mary Ann McHone Marshall says:

    I agree with you Steve!

  13. Keith Kaplan says:

    Did you write this on shabbos or say it on shabbos and then upload it to this website? Did someone tell you about this site on shabbos?

    Good grief…. There was a time in life in which granting the benefit of the doubt was considered a halachic imperative. There was also a time in life in which Bar Mitzvot happened on any day you wanted, perhaps a Thursday.

    Do not presume anything about another. When you start pointing your finger, 3 point back at you.

    You have been warned.

  14. Hadassah Israel says:

    I found this very sad.

  15. Hadassah Israel says:

    I can't believe the Rabbi let him stand at the bimah and give that speech. I hope Hashem gives the kid the answers that he has been looking for.

  16. The horror, the horror, kehn einah horror!

  17. Tikun Olam says:

    Outside of some Orthodox factions kids are encouraged to think for themselves. They are allowed to challenge what they have learned and to speak what they really think, even at their bar mitzvahs. Force a kid like him to talk about religion as though he knows that he believes in god is giving him a reason not to bother with Judaism at all. At least he is looking for answers. And if he finds that he doesn't believe in god and becomes a secular humanist as he describes it is a better outcome than many people have come to. He wants to behave in a way a god who wants people to treat each other with kindness would want. This is a good thing. I wish more religious Jews felt this way.

  18. Michele Roberts says:

    "Deformed"? "Self-Servative"? Do you fail to understand how hateful your language is? If you really believe that anyone who doesn't march in lock-step with your (apparently Orthodox) beliefs deserves your derision, then shame on you.

  19. David Blatt says:

    This is horrible.

  20. DCFinFL says:

    How utterly wonderful, how totally courageous and how this is absolutely a testament to what it is to become Bar (and Bat) Mitzvah – to own your Truth and own your quest and own your questions — and Judaism is all about questioning.   Bravo and Siman Tov & Mazel Tov. Y’hei Lanu.  (“A symbol of good, hooray for us” – loosely translated).  
    I sure hope he’s recorded again, when he Gets God.

  21. How utterly wonderful, how totally courageous and how this is absolutely a testament to what it is to become Bar (and Bat) Mitzvah – to own your Truth and own your quest and own your questions — and Judaism is all about questioning. Bravo and Siman Tov & Mazel Tov. Y'hei Lanu. ("A symbol of good, hooray for us" – loosely translated).

    I sure hope he's recorded again, when he Gets God.

  22. How utterly wonderful, how totally courageous and how this is absolutely a testament to what it is to become Bar (and Bat) Mitzvah – to own your Truth and own your quest and own your questions — and Judaism is all about questioning. Bravo and Siman Tov & Mazel Tov. Y'hei Lanu. ("A symbol of good, hooray for us" – loosely translated).

    I sure hope he's recorded again, when he Gets God.

  23. How utterly wonderful, how totally courageous and how this is absolutely a testament to what it is to become Bar (and Bat) Mitzvah – to own your Truth and own your quest and own your questions — and Judaism is all about questioning. Bravo and Siman Tov & Mazel Tov. Y'hei Lanu. ("A symbol of good, hooray for us" – loosely translated).

    I sure hope he's recorded again, when he Gets God.

  24. How utterly wonderful, how totally courageous and how this is absolutely a testament to what it is to become Bar (and Bat) Mitzvah – to own your Truth and own your quest and own your questions — and Judaism is all about questioning. Bravo and Siman Tov & Mazel Tov. Y'hei Lanu. ("A symbol of good, hooray for us" – loosely translated).

    I sure hope he's recorded again, when he Gets God.

  25. DCFinFL says:

    The Guardian I’m sorry that you’re in such a dark and hateful place around all this.

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