The new TLC show “The Sisterhood” headed into controversial territory last night with its second episode. The subject: a “Christian Bar Mitzvah” for Trevor Lewis, the son of Pastor Brian Lewis. Lewis, a convert to Christianity, claims that it will “celebrate his Jewish heritage.”
The “Christian Bar Mitzvah” features such accouterments as a cake baked in the shape of the Christian old testament, and a prayer shawl, mimicking the Jewish tallit. In a scene in the episode, Pastor Brian and his wife Tara are discussing the event. He suggests “Christ in the torah” as the theme. When he exits the room, he says “Hasta la vista, or should I say, shalom.”
Along with “Christian seders,” “Christian Bar Mitzvahs” are fast becoming a new trend for American Christians. This is not without opposition in the Christian community.
Reverend Ann Fontaine at The Daily Episcopalian writes “how can those of us who have not walked the path of another tradition and lived with the oppression and violence skim off the cream of an ‘interesting’ ritual?”.
And Jews are not happy either. In the Seattle Times, Rabbi Mark Glickman says that “having chosen to leave the Jewish fold, it strikes me as disingenuous for Christianity to reach back into Judaism to co-opt Jewish rituals that developed only after we split.”