Monday, November 28, 2011

What makes a good Bar Mitzvah gift?

Help me out, readers. I have three b'nai mitzvot happening in the next few months. All are Reform relatives, and all boys. I would like to straddle the line between "something with at least some Jewish content" and "something they might actually like." To date, the only gift I have found that seemed to even approach this golden mean was this book-- which I've already given to cousins on one side of the family so I can't really get away with it again.

Any suggestions?


MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

Well history books are always a good idea. A good book on Jewish history would be appreciated (by the parents if not the kids!) and plays to the Jewish identity thing without invoking an uncomfortable religious sentiment.
If you're loaded and don't care what they think, they get them an Artscroll Shas!

Anonymous said...

If I recall my tastes in literature when I was 13, I might recommend the book "Operation Mincemeat" by Ben Macintyre.

This book is about the operation by British intelligence during WW2 to plant a dead body with fake documents to provide disinformation to the Germans about the invasion of Sciliy. (They convinced the Germans that the invasion was going to be in Greece, this obviously helped the Allies succeed in invading Sicily.)

The Jewish connection is that one of the masterminds of the operation was a Jewish barrister named Ewen Montagu. (who wrote a book about it in the 1950s called "The Man WHo Never Was") Macintyre
s new book contains a lot of details and back story that Montagu couldn't put in his book because it was classified information, by now MI5 and MI6 were willing to allow the whole story to be told, including the identity of the stiff they used.

Montagu, by the way, was not just ethnically jewish, after the war he became a macher in the United Synaggoue, which in the UK is the "establishment" modern-Orthodox Jewish communal organization.

Anyway, it's the kind of thing I think a 13 year old would like -- wartime spycraft, a little gross what with all the stuff they had to do with the corpse of a skid row bum they were trying to pass off as a major in the Royal Marines, and a little Jewish pride, in that even a bookish Jewish lawyer did real cool spy stuff.

-Conservative Apikoris

Susan Katz Miller said...

On the irreverent/secular end of the spectrum, I have given the R. Crumb Genesis (nudity!), and the New Yorker cartoon compendium (lots of Jewish humor and intellect on display).