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Monday, December 04, 2006

Nathaniel's Bar Mitzva

This is a little bit off topic for this blog, but I enjoyed it so I wanted to point you all to it.

At Pajamas Media, columnist Michael Ledeen writes about his friend (columnist) David Frum's son Nathaniel's Bar Mitzva, which took place this past weekend. Just a tease to give you an idea where it's going:
There’s a lot of work, learning to chant, not just read—with a lot of memorization involved—long passages in Hebrew. In most cases, one passage is from the Hebrew Torah, a hand written scroll with no vowels, and the other is from the Hebrew Haftorah, a printed text of commentary and prophecy. For the kids who have attended secular schools, I dare say there has been nothing in their previous education that compares with this level of difficulty. Kids aren’t made to memorize a lot of material any more, rote learning having been banned in the names of the false gods of self-esteem and nobody-ever-fails-here. In Bar Mitzvah, as in all serious intellectual examinations, you either get it right or you get it wrong, there is no room for self indulgence. As the Bar Mitzvah candidate chants, there is a clear-eyed expert following along, and unhesitatingly interrupts with corrections if any mistake is made.
Read the whole thing.


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