Read this script aloud in groups of three.

Download script PDF


Watch this clip from The Bar Mitzvah Boy. As you watch, try to think about how and why this script becomes funny on screen. Think about the effect of facial expressions, editing to show characters’ response to the conversation and the audience’s familiarity with the topic.


 © All rights reserved BBC Motion Gallery; written by Jack Rosenthal; reproduced courtesy of all actors appearing in sequence.


The film The Bar Mitzvah Boy is a classic, comedy representation of a Jewish family. Some people might criticise it for portraying a stereotype Jewish mother – what do you think?

In your groups, discuss the authenticity of the family represented in this scene. Use these questions to guide your discussion – remember the film was made in 1976:

  • To what extent have you heard similar discussions in your or your friends’ family about Bar Mitzvah plans?
  • What do you think about the representation of the Bar Mitzvah boy as a silent observer during this discussion?  In your experience, is this authentic?  Why?
  • From your experience, what is the most important aspect of a Bar Mitzvah for the parents of the Bar Mitzvah boy or Bat Mitzvah girl?
  • In what ways might the plans of the parents and the plans of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy/girl clash?


Start collecting evidence about attitudes to Bar / Bat Mitzvah among people you know. Use the video or the audio recording function on
a mobile phone to record people’s strongest memories of past Bar Mitzvahs as well as biggest anxieties and greatest hopes for those yet to
be celebrated. If you’re not Jewish and don’t have Jewish friends, think about other big life changing events like weddings, baby blessings,
16th birthday parties and so on. Start to capture people’s memories as video or audio recordings.