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

Louise Goldstein <lgoldste@...>


I don't know the origin of the custom but at my conservative synagoge we do
this for Bar and Bat Mitzva's and for Auf Ruf's (the shabbat preceding a
wedding). Generally we throw soft gel candies (kosher of course), but
occassionally the family involved provides chocolate kisses or something
else. The children in the congregation know this will happen and it's a
wonderful bribe to get them to shul. We throw the candy after the
blessings for the Haftorah, while singing "Siman Tov u'Mazel Tov." There
is then a mad dash by the children (all under the age of bar/bat mitzvah)
up to the bima to collect it all - and they do a marvelous job cleaning it
all up! Much of the candy ends up in Dad's (or Mom's) tallis bag and is
taken home and quietly thrown away. Some of it, I confess, is eaten by
some of the little old ladies rather than thrown.

The non-Jewish guests at these events are a little stunned, but then the
entire Shabbat service is a very different experience for them. They are
used to sitting still for an hour and then being done. At our eagalitarian
shul, if you come for the whole thing, you're there for at least three
hours, and that's not counting the kiddush after. We wouldn't dream of
sitting still for the whole time! Even those who don't get up to use the
bathroom or take a break in the lobby are conducting a quiet critique of
the translation in such and such a Torah, or an aggravating section in the
prayer book and so on. And the choreography of people going up and down
for aliyot and to read Torah and get blessed also means that there is a
lot of coming and going. I love the activity of the service, and the
candy-throwing is a wonderful way to bring in the next generation, with a
lot of affection. Some people find it disruptive and it is, for a brief
while, but we have no trouble getting back on track, mostly because
everyone then wants to hear the d'var of the bar/bat mitzvah.

I invite you all, when you visit Madison, Wisconsin, to stop by Beth Israel
Center for Shabbat or any other time. You will find yourself warmly
welcomed, with or without candy.

Louise Goldstein
Madison, Wisconsin

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