Adam Sandler is one of the funniest comic actors in the entertainment industry. It appears that he is a secular Jew who manages to convey a strong sense of pride in his Judaism. Despite the fact that he is not by any definition observant. Who can forget his hilarious ‘Hannuka Song’ performed on SNL many years ago. I’ll bet it is the most viral video SNL ever put out. One might say that Adam Sandler is the quintessential cultural Jew.
It was with that in mind (plus all the aforementioned positive hype) that I decided to watch his latest movie You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah. Which - as it turns out - is an abomination!
Even though it is a parody of the typical secular Jewish family, it depicted a world in which Judaism consists of rabbis who are mindless clowns and heretics - and a 12 year old Jewish girl whose version of Judaism is chasing after the sexiest guy in her school. Anything remotely Jewish - like her reading of the Haftorah is at best treated by her as an afterthought – to be performed in a Reform Temple to please her parents. Even if one disregards the Halachic problems with this, it shows how little anything even remotely Jewish means to her.
I shut that movie off after watching it for about 10 minutes .I had enough! To say I was disappointed in what I saw would be an understatement. That it got such rave reviews in the secular Jewish media shows that this parody of their Jewish life is quite an accurate albeit exaggerated representation of how they live.
Not that I didn’t already suspect this to be the case. But it clearly demonstrates why American secular Jewish life is doomed. It will very likely become extinct in the not too distant future. That someone like Adam Sandler who is clearly proud of his Judaism makes a movie depicting values that are about as Jewish as Beyonce is - says a lot. This parody illustrates why there is such a decline in the number of committed Jews in America. Why there are so many Jews that could not care less about whether the person they will marry is Jewish or not.
Who in their right mind would place any value on a religion where secularism is their most important value?!. The ‘heroine’ of this movie is the prototype of the future American Jew whose commitment to Judaism is nominal at best - if it exists at all.
As noted, although I was very disappointed in this movie, I was not surprised. Even though it was a gross exaggeration of secular Jewish values, the plain simple truth for most of secular America Jewry is that their values are anything but Jewish in the true sense of the word.
I am not saying this to bang yet another nail into the coffin of the non Orthodox American Jewish community. As I have said many times, I take no pleasure in seeing its demise happening practically before my eyes – as depicted in this movie. Yes! It was an exaggeration in the form of a parody. But that doesn’t make it any less the reality.
That being said, I’m sure that there are more than a few heterodox Jews that are still very serious about their Judaism. And do indeed try and practice some Jewish ritual. Like lighting candles on Friday night, keeping a relatively Kosher home., having a Passover Seder, and even fasting on Yom Kippur. None of which was present in that movie (at least the part that I saw. And there was not the slightest indication that it would be depicted in any manner.) My guess is that to the extent that it does exist - it is a relatively small and shrinking minority of heterodox Jews. Furthermore, I doubt that too many of their children will follow in their parents footsteps that way.
That is pretty much what I got out of that movie.