When we talk about bat mitzvahs, we tend to focus on the more absurdist elements of the day, like our regrettable sartorial choices and tales of general teenage awkwardness. We get so caught up in the puffy sleeved pink skirt suits and the fact that Ron Greenberg decided to do “Love Shack” in the karaoke booth with Jessica even though you asked him first, that we fail to consider how truly progressive this ceremony once was.
The bat mitzvah was a major achievement for early Jewish feminists who, caught up the fervor of the suffragette victory of 1922, decided to claim the right of passage as their own. Now, in light of bat mitzvah’s 90th anniversary, the JCC in Manhattan is hosting an exhibit about ceremony, as well as a concert and performance this Thursday night dedicated to the ceremony.
The show is headlined by Girls in Trouble, led by singer/songwriter Alicia Jo Rabins, and will feature performances by comedian Judy Gold, performance artist Glenn Marla, writer Deborah Feldman, and actress Sam Mozes.
The Sisterhood spoke with these women about their sometimes funny, sometimes boring, and sometimes empowering experiences up on the bima. Feel free to share your bat mitzvah story in the comments section below.
For those of you weren’t there to hear the breathtaking performances by poet Alicia Ostriker, klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals and violin-wielding songstress Alicia Jo Rabins — who played solo and as a trio at the yesterday’s Forward-sponsored “3 Alicias 3” — here’s a taste of what you missed:
Free tickets are still available for “3 Alicias 3” — an evening of performances by composer and klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals, poet and critic Alicia Ostriker and singer, songwriter and violinist Alicia Jo Rabins, who plays with the bands Golem and Girls in Trouble.
The Forward is sponsoring “3 Alicias 3,” alongside Manhattan’s Sixth Street Synagogue, where the event will be held at 7 p.m. on August 24. The artists will perform solo and as a trio; they’ll also participate in a panel discussion on Jewish women in the arts, and the relationship between poetry and song. For more information, click here.
The first 10 Sisterhood readers to email me get in free; otherwise, the cover is $8.
P.S. - I’ll be bartending.
On August 24, the Forward and the Sixth Street Synagogue will present three accomplished Jewish artists — all named Alicia — whose work extends across generations and genres. The event, called “3 Alicias 3,” will feature:
• Alicia Svigals
Svigals is a virtuosic klezmer fiddler, who was a founder of the Klezmatics and the band Mikveh. Svigals is a native New Yorker, who studied with the legendary Leon Schwartz. She has been called “the greatest living exponent of the klezmer fiddle.”