Recently on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, actor Michael Rapaport has called for the rabbis who gave the bar mitzvah honor to Jared Kushner to have it revoked. (Kushner was born and raised in a modern orthodox Jewish family. He now works as senior advisor to President Trump.)

Is it technically possible for a rabbi to revoke this honor?

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    ...what. A Bar Mitzvah means that you reached the age of 13. Nothing more than that. I don't see how you would revoke that unless you happen to have an age reduction machine.
    – Mithical
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 8:44
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    @Mithrandir well you can make the year a leap year and retroactively delay it a month. But it's waaay too late for that. (plus he was born in shevat)
    – Heshy
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 9:46
  • @Mithrandir, for the fromm community yes, for non-Orthodox Jews, it's a much bigger deal, which requires celebration, rather than simply reaching 13 and/or having two pubic hairs. Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 17:14
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt "for non-Orthodox Jews, it's a much bigger deal" - If my community is an indication of a trend among this group of people, then, you might be surprised to hear that it is currently significantly less of a "big deal" than it was about 5 years ago. Most do not bother with the shul part, at all. (Boy's loss. No shul present to remember!) The parties are much smaller and in many cases, there is nothing at all.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 18:07
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    @DanF, growing up, my family was one of the few fromm ones in town. Most bnei mitzvah made a big deal of things, although I guess there's a difference when most folks are amoratzim, rather than having a basic level of Jewish learning. Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


Obviously, this is just a joke. A bar mitzvah can't be revoked.

Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation

A Jewish boy automatically becomes a bar mitzvah upon reaching the age of 13 years, and a girl upon reaching the age of 12 years. No ceremony is needed to confer these rights and obligations. The popular bar mitzvah ceremony is not required, and does not fulfill any commandment. It is certainly not, as one episode of the Simpsons would have you believe, necessary to have a bar mitzvah in order to be considered a Jew! The bar or bat mitzvah is a relatively modern innovation, not mentioned in the Talmud, and the elaborate ceremonies and receptions that are commonplace today were unheard of as recently as a century ago.

  • Just 100 years ago ? I thought that most of the party/celebration elements were under 50 years old, although I'd have to ask my dad what they did when he was that age Commented May 2, 2018 at 15:37

As stated above, the Bar Mitzvah, itself, is automatic, and it doesn't need any rabbinical intervention whatsoever.

However, I see that you said specifically, Bar Mitvah "honor". Depending on what that honor was, under certain circumstances, it can, of course, be revoked. For example, if the rabbi said praises about Mr. Kushner, during his Bar Mitzvah, he could publicly renounce what he said, then. If he presented Jared with a siddur or Chumash at his Bar Mitzvah, he could request that they be returned.

So, technically, tangible things such as these can be revoked. I don't see the point to doing this, but, I guess if the rabbi (I assume that there was just one, so I don't know what Mike Rappaport means by using the plural form) wants to make a silly point, to amuse Michael (I don't think Jared would be that amused, but, who knows?) that rabbi is able and welcome to do so.

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    From what I've heard about R' Lookstein, it would be very much out of form for him to publically call down a member of his kehillah. Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 17:13
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt No honorable rabbi would pay attention to his suggestion, anyway. My answer only suggests that it's possible, not that it's probable.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 17:32
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt: I think Jared's bar mitzvah was in NJ, not Manhattan. Until a couple of years ago, they had two homes. Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 17:56

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