In Judaism, a Bar or Batmitzvah is a coming of age ceremony welcoming the young person to their future adult self.
In Keeping Up With The Steins (2006), Benjamin Fiedler (Daryl Sabara) is about to become a Bar Mitzvah. As with any religious ceremony, his family is coming together to celebrate this young man making his entrance to the adult community. And anyone who has brought their family together for a event of this type knows that drama will always ensue.
Benjamin’s father, Adam (Jeremy Piven) and his grandfather Irwin (Garry Marshall) have not spoken in many years. Benjamin is feeling the pressure to succeed while his family is feuding and trying to keep up with the neighbors. Will Ben’s Bar Mitzvah be a memorable one for the right reasons or the wrong reasons?
What is interesting to me about this movie is that you can change the location and religious faith of the characters and the same issues will come up. There is, even with the specifics of the story, a universality to this story of family and growing up.
I recommend it.
There are two things in life that will always happen, regardless of what ever else we experience: death and taxes.
Loosing a loved one is difficult. It is especially difficult when a young person kills themselves because they feel like their family has turned their back on them.
Leelah Alcorn was born Joshua Alcorn. But something did not feel right. He might have been born into a male body, but something inside of him said he was meant to be in a female body. When Joshua came out of the closet as transgender, her parents refused to accept the truth about their child. Feeling unloved by the people who should love her the most, Leelah walked into oncoming traffic and killed herself.
I don’t have any children and I understand that it is sometimes difficult when your child goes against societal or religious norms. But I’ve always believed that a good parent loved and supported their child, even if they did not agree 100% with everything that their child said and did.
Sadly, the tragedy of Leelah’s death is not new. Many young people, unable to cope with an identity that goes against what they have been taught to think and feel will end up in the grave long before they reach old age.
Leelah’s death is just one more loss that marks a long line of losses that the LGBTQ community will endure. It’s just a dam shame that a teenager had to kill themselves to make the world stand up and pay attention.