Re: Bar Mitzvah Custom: Throwing sweets, nuts and raisins #general

David Ziants <davidz@...>

From: "James Morzillo" <jmorzil1@...>
... snipped ... At some point the women and girls, sitting upstairs,
threw small wrapped packages of sweets, nuts and raisins at the young man
whose Bar Mitzvah it was.

Is this a custom >from certain parts of Eastern Europe? My paternal
grandparents were Litvaks >from what is now western Belarus. ... snipped ...
Am sorry I am coming on late in this.

In my opinion this is a lovely custom, which I see being done a lot
in Israel in both Ashkenazi and Sephardi shuls (= synagogues), as
others have already mentioned. As well as for bar-mitzva and
shabbat chatan (aufrauf), also done when a father is called up
because of a new baby.

I very rarely saw this custom, in the shuls I went to in
England (we belonged to a shul which was part of the orthodox
United Synagogue), and am going back more than 20 years but wouldn't
be surprised if it is now being picked up there, at least
in some of the congregations. (See note below)

With this, it does not seem to be the type of thing that would
have been done in the German communities. Jews >from Germany are
often nick-named as "Yekkers", because of the jackets they wore.
They are known for their order and exactness, and sweet throwing
is the antithesis of this. The decorum in a yekkish shul is much
different to that in a litvasher shul (i.e. shul of litvaks).

Many years ago, I spent some time on a yekkish religious kibbutz here
in Israel, and I remember that rather than throw sweets at a
bar-mitzva someone handed out the sweets in little pre-prepared
doggy bags (no doubt, the exact number and types of sweets was the
same in each bag as is yekkish style) as soon as the bar-mitzva boy
finished the haphtora.

The bags were being handed out so quickly that it almost seemed
as if they were being thrown, but the efficiency of the operation
fitted in very well with the decor of the place.

At least everyone got a bag, no one got hurt, and there were no
children crying at the end because they were not quick enough in
the scramble.

[Note concerning shuls in England: Jewish law problems that have to
be considered when introducing sweet throwing include:
a) ensuring the kashrut of the sweets, especially if brought by
families who are not aware of the intricacies;
b) that they are not carried in the street on Shabbat as there
was (is?) no eiruv in London/UK.
(eruv = a device which can be applied to to most of our
neighbourhood streets that allows carrying on Shabbat.) ] .

Anyway, may we have more and more s'machot, and may our children grow
to mitzvot, chupa and ma'asim tovim (good deeds).

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

MODERATOR NOTE: Please confine further comments to genealogical
ramifications of this custom. Discussion of Jewish Law per se is offtopic
in the Discussion Group.

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