Well, we made it. As loyal readers know, this is the 13th SRVD making it, of course, the Sugar Ray/Visor Day Bar Mitzvah aka the Sugar Ray Bar Mitzvisor. Now, while Sugar Ray has not performed “That’s What Friends are For,” or even danced the Hora, I think it’s pretty clear that this 2016 celebration has some significant overlap with a traditional Bar Mitzvah. Let’s take it step by step:
- Per Chabad.org: “First, and most importantly, a Jewish boy becomes a bar mitzvah on his thirteenth birthday, with or without a ceremony in synagogue. If he stumbles over a word, or forgets a sentence in his speech, he will not be disqualified. Putting too much pressure on the bar mitzvah boy to deliver a flawless performance will make the experience unnecessarily unpleasant for everyone.” It’s unlikely that a holiday could have its own ceremony during which it is an active participant. But, of all the successful late 90s/early 2000s bands, isn’t Sugar Ray at the top of the list of bands that would stumble over words or forget sentences? Mark McGrath, star of Sharnknado 2 and Joe Dirt 2, is not one to deliver a “flawless performance,” and yet still he gets his message across.
2. Again, per Chabad: “Second, while preparing for the ceremony may be a rewarding experience, it should not be the sole focus of the bar mitzvah boy’s studies. A thorough review of the fundamentals of Jewish observance is a much better preparation for life as a Jewish adult than simply learning to chant a few paragraphs by rote.” And again, is anyone less solely-focused than Sugar Ray’s own Mark McGrath? Sugar Ray doesn’t only prioritize music. McGrath hosts a Sirius 90s on 9 show; was a host on Extra; and is touring with other 90s mainstays. McGrath knows his omnipresence makes some unhappy, but the fact is he isn’t isolating himself in one area. He’s not just a musician; he’s an entertainer.
3. Once more, per Chabad: “Finally, when choosing a date, keep in mind that although the bar mitzvah ceremony and celebration are often held on Shabbat, this is not a requirement.” And here we are, on a Friday, having our own small (worldwide) celebration.
Let’s take it one step further: A visor may be a hat for those who have not yet become an adult, by Jewish law. Think about it: A visor is, for all intents and purposes, a baseball cap with a crucial missing piece. That piece? The yarmulke! It’s what fills in the gap of this:
As I wrote last year, “No longer can I insist upon a Draconian standard of everyone wearing a visor and listening to the best Sugar Ray songs.” And while a Bar Mitzvah is a time to pledge adherence to Jewish law, in modern day Jewish society it’s also a chance to celebrate and party with friends and family. It’s a touchstone, but most importantly, the Bar Mitzvah brings people together. And that is always what this holiday has been about: celebrating the coming of good times ahead with friends and family both near and far. So, while we might not all be able to sway arm in arm to “That’s What Friends are For,” or even “Fly,” we can all celebrate the beginning of spring, of baseball season (just a few more days!), of good weather, and, most importantly, of good things to come. While not from the Torah or Talmud, our collective optimism and love for Sugar Ray and visors (without proper ceremony, without being the sole focus of today, and not being on the Sabbath) has made us all Bar Mitzvisors. And isn’t that something worth celebrating.