Monday, August 10, 2009

Bar mitzvahs as the Jewish Rainbow Party?

Brandeis sociologist Shulamit Reinharz writes in 614 magazine, the magazine of the Brandeis women's research institute, that Jewish girls are giving oral sex as a bar mitzvah present, a topic people have been speculating about since at least 2005 (for instance, this 2005 David Brooks column is skeptical of what sound like old rumors even then.) Without better substantiation than the vague assertion from an unnamed Brandeis student that oral sex at bar mitzvahs is "common", it sounds like another rainbow party urban myth.

As head of a research institute, I'm surprised Professor Reinharz couldn't spare even a work study undergrad to investigate whether this claim has any basis whatsoever before raising alarms about it, much less publishing it under the name of an institution that might be considered an authority on "Authentic Judaism."

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