A b’nai mitzvah ceremony is a special time for any Jewish person, but it may take on extra meaning when the eyes of the world are watching. From rapper Drake to Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman, here’s what these seven celebrities have said about their own b’nai mitzvah experiences.
Best known to the world simply as Drake, Aubrey Drake Graham celebrated his bar mitzvah on his 31st birthday in October of 2017, according to the New York Post’s Page Six. The guest list included Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Tobey Maguire and Lamar Odom.
According to Digital Spy, Drake did in fact have a bar mitzvah when he was younger, but he explained that it wasn’t the most involved affair.
“When I had a bar mitzvah back in the day, my mom really didn’t have that much money,” Drake said. “We kinda just did it in the basement of an Italian restaurant, which I guess is kinda like a faux pas.
“I told myself that if I ever got rich, I’d throw myself a re-bar mitzvah,” Drake added.
The Jewish Journal noted that Drake’s age at his second bar mitzvah, 31, happens to be the reverse of 13, the typical bar mitzvah age.
Wanting to connect to her Jewish roots, singer and actress Paula Abdul traveled to Israel in 2013 for a bat mitzvah ceremony originally planned to be held at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, according to CBS News. Due to jet lag, however, the bat mitzvah was moved last-minute to the town of Safed in northern Israel.
“Beyond being Jewish, I’ve always found myself to be very much in tune with spirituality,” Abdul told the AP at the time, according to E! Online.
Comedian Tiffany Haddish celebrated her bat mitzvah in 2019 in Beverly Hills on her 40th birthday, according to the JTA. Guests included Billy Crystal, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman.
Haddish became interested in her heritage after first meeting her father, an Eritrean Jew, at 27.
“For a long time, I didn’t even know black Jews existed. I didn’t know anything about Judaism for a long time,” Haddish said.
As part of a Hilarity for Charity event, actor James Franco undertook a bar mitzvah ceremony at 37, according to Kveller.
A photo of the event posted on Instagram came with the caption: “I am now a MAN! Got Bar Mitzvahed tonight!!! Finally!”
Actor David Arquette wanted to have a bar mitzvah when he was growing up, but, according to Kveller, his mom wouldn’t let him because she thought he was just doing it for the presents, according to Kveller. At 42, he finally got his wish, celebrating at the Kotel in Jerusalem. Afterward, he tweeted: “I had my bar mitzvah today at the wall. Finally I’m a man.”
Actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein recalled how his bar mitzvah represented “the end of my pretending to believe in the God of my father,” reported the Jewish News of Northern California.
NFL receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman is currently studying for his upcoming bar mitzvah, according to Los Angeles Magazine. In a 2017 memoir, Edelman noted that his paternal great-grandfather was Jewish, and that he regularly speaks to a rabbi in Los Angeles.
“My dad is Jewish,” Edelman said. “I’m going to have a bar mitzvah here soon.”