Amherst, Massachusetts–Local twelve year olds now have a third option when it comes to planning the Jewish ceremony traditionally called a bar or bat mitzvah. The Bax Mitzvah was developed by Rabbi Noah O’Connor of the Pioneer Valley Jewish Congregation in order to, as he describes it, “build a bridge at the intersection of gender identity and Jewish ritual.” He added that “modern parents are waiting for their child to declare gender, rather than making assumptions based on their schmeckel or shmundie. So why pressure them? More and more kids are waiting until college, even mid-career, to declare. What’s the rush? Relax. Have a knish.”

Integral to any bar/bat/bax mitzvah is choosing the theme for a big party that follows a rather long ceremony conducted in a foreign language. The chosen theme will vary, but now the pressure to pick along gendered lines (say the New England Patriots or Hello Kitty) is gone. For example, upcoming bax mitzvah themes include ‘Pokemon GO’, ‘Mount Holyoke College’, and ‘Don’t Call it a Man Bun.’

We at Tofu Curtain are proud that the new Bax Mitzvah originated here in Western Massachusetts. Rabbi O’Connor puts the ‘pioneer’ in Pioneer Valley…he’s a real mensch. And very handsome too we might add. And single. Such a catch.