March 7, 2011
'I got my bar mitzvah at the New York Times'
Just walking by the New York Times headquarters building is often a source of news events. My most recent passage past the Times' in-house theater revealed an advertising sign stating "Anything Can Happen At the Times Center." And it is backed up by giving examples of functions that the theater can be rented for. This site of Times annual meetings can now be rented for product presentations, workshops, film showings -- and bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs.
It boggles the mind. The arguably most anti-Israel newspaper in America, which has never displayed a menorah in its lobby in December at this address, is inviting people to hold bar mitzvahs. I know there are leftist rabbis and J Street supporters who would not see the irony of this, yet other questions come to mind.
Is the New York Times desperately hurting for cash? I've been to this theater twice to attend annual meetings and I don't believe the stepped up seats are easily removable for a banquet or suitable for dancing the Hora. Since there is no place for tables or a dance floor, this would be akin -- in structure -- to an Orthodox Jewish bar mitzvah which does not emphasize a party, but rather stresses the ascending to the stage for the young man or woman to read from the Torah. That is something that people could easily do at their home temple -- unless they wish to show the world that they are believers in the New York Times branch of Reform Judaism and the Times building is their religious temple. The three nearby porno stores, two on 40th Street and one on Eighth Avenue, may detract from solemnity of the occasion, however.
Notice the sign (see photo) doesn't mention First Communion parties or confirmations. Apparently the Times believes that only Jewish liberals worship at their newspaper. There is no quick way to verify or disprove this assumption.
One doesn't know how many people will take advantage of this location for their children's bar or bat mitzvah. Perhaps they will add a denunciation of Tea Party to the bar or bat mitzvah speech. Well, I once heard Michael Medved say (at a synagogue) that "Reform Judaism is the Democratic Party with holidays."
There would be no separation of church and statist. Is this an attempt to convince children that not buying or reading the New York Times is sacrilegious?