Many Jews out there have duly noted the nature of Hanukah and its similarity to Christmas: gift giving, holiday cheer, people being nice (which in turn makes me sick). All this occurs even though Hanukkah is not a major Jewish holiday. If a five-year-old wants presents and does not celebrate Christmas, I’m all for giving him a corrosive, electrified, exploding, fire breathing, environmentally friendly piece of machinery and putting him to work so he can buy his own crap. Now the interesting part lies here, friends, because I have recently connected two other major events that explain a reversal of this phenomenon under your very snout.

For all of those people who have never experienced the Bar and Bat Mitzvah season, I will be the first to report that you are definitely missing something. It’ll teach you how to dance better than salsa lessons from Tostitos. The food, the rock and/or roll (by that I mean the DJ who has heard “YMCA” more times in his life than the amount of times he has sat at home on a Saturday night and cried himself to sleep), and the women (and by women I mean people with female genitalia) are in full supply. It is a fantastic array of peoples from all over, celebrating a great accomplishment and entrance into adulthood and remembering those great musical founders who pioneered “Bar Mitzvah Music”: the Village People, Sister Sledge and Donna Summer, to name a few.

And this extravagance for 13-year-old Jews has recently met a partner. One would say (namely me and the Ronald McDonald Breakfast Crew) that the new fad of extravagant sweet 16 parties has taken the concept of the Bar Mitzvah extravagance and thrown Rogaine on it (after massaging the scalp for a full 10 minute period).

Sweet Sixteen parties are the American (or American Christian) equivalent to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Think about it. Both are thrown for people who have “entered adulthood,” both are absurdly extravagant, both occur on or near one’s birthday, both have the letter “T” in them?.

Just as Jews want presents during Christmas, all other religious people want unnecessarily large birthday parties. The MTV show “Sweet Sixteen” shows just such people begging their parents for cars, martini drinking unicorns and the complete “Sex and the City” DVD collection.

Once I discovered this similarity, I knew that I needed to share it with the world – i.e., the slim few who actually read this article (that means you, Mr. Sylvester Stallone). I believe it all began with the dinosaurs when little Brontasaurusberg had her Bat Mitzvah and invited small Tyrannosaurusmith, who became jealous, threw a tantrum and forced her father, Bert, to throw a party for her at 16.

All in all, this splicing of cultures is what America was founded on and should still be all about – a little slice of apple pie (or kugel). And although this article might not solve world hunger, it makes a great bib while binge eating, American Style! Yee haw, let’s live in excess!

Stahl is a member ofthe class of 2009.

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Lost in translation

Once every few years, I got a taste of what it feels to be an outsider in my own culture, peering in. I was a girl lost in translation.