Comedic bar mitzva invitation draws 70,000 views

In Goodman family video of bible scene, Esau asks why he should "schlepp to the middle of nowhere just for some kid's bar mitzva!"

esau and jacob_311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
esau and jacob_311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Their falling-out was because of bread and lentil stew, but the reconciliation was inspired by far finer delicacies. In a humorous take on a movie scene depicting the biblical scene of reunification between alienated twins Jacob and Esau, it is an invitation to a kiddush with schmaltz herring and the promise of single malt whiskey that opens Esau's heart to his younger brother; the same brother to whom he had forfeited his birthright years before.
A video clip created by the Goodman family, sent out as part of the invitation for their son Eyal's upcoming bar mitzva celebration, has become a minor internet sensation with nearly 70,000 views by Thursday night. The principle is simple – the actors' dialogue in a famous scene is made inaudible, and the difference between what is seen and what the subtitles say makes for a good laugh. In this case, it is not the movie that is well known but rather the biblical story it tells. We see Jacob limping across the river toward Esau for the first time since he fled him, apprehensive and bowing, as Genesis tells it. But as the subtitles go, Jacob talks his armed and angry brother out of killing him by inviting him to Tel Mond for Shabbat, where Eyal will be reading “our story.”
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“I'm not coming all the way to Tel Mond just for Shabbat! Give me one good reason why I should schlepp all the way to the middle of nowhere just for some kid's bar mitzva! Don't you think I have better things to do this November?” the character of Esau, famous for his temper, charges of Jacob in the Goodman subtitles.
“You know... there will be a kiddush after the service,” Jacob replies, his eyes still downcast. “A kiddush?... with schmaltz herring?” Esau asks in his periodical garb. “Yes... and maybe even single malt whiskey,” Jacob replies. And Esau embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept, as the story goes. “Oh brother Jacob... of course I will come. It's going to be a wonderful Shabbat!”
The idea was to enhance our regular invitation to our friends and family with something a bit more creative and fun,” Eyal's father Michael Goodman explained. “Our family enjoys taking photographs and making movies for ourselves to commemorate happy occasions and Semachot. I wanted to make a link between Eyal's Parsha, Vayishlach and his bar mitzva invitation, and I chanced upon this made for TV film from 1994, Jacob. In fact we were not sure that our guests would even bother to open the link,” he added.
The Goodmans, who made aliya just over three years ago from Edgware in the UK, only invited family and close friends to the celebration, and never had the intention on hosting thousands of unexpected guests who might have happened upon the clip. “Despite the 'tongue in cheek' comments about thousands of extra guests, I don't think that anyone would seriously turn up to a stranger's party uninvited,” Goodman said. “As a precaution, there will however, be extra security at the events.”
And what does the bar mitzva boy think of all the fuss around his event? “He does think that it is 'cool' that his bar mitzva invitation has attracted attention and hopes that it will have a positive effect,” Goodman said, and explained that their Mevaser Zion Community is in the process of raising funds toward the construction of a new synagogue. “Because of the opportunity presented now, we would hope that the interest generated will inspire people who would like to donate towards this worthwhile project either in honor of our dear bar mitzva boy, or in memory of their loved ones,” Goodman said.