Kids getting a new iPhone as they enter Middle School, is the new Bar Mitzvah.

As my 11-year old graduated from Elementary School last week, a new tradition was brought to my attention that I was not previously aware of:

Before a child enters Middle School, apparently, they need to get their own iPhone.

While this took me a bit by surprise, I’ve come to realize that this is now a natural law of how the world works.  I wasn’t thrilled about the financial implications of this new rule.  Yet it did help me grasp Apple’s close-to $1 trillion valuation, so that’s a plus.  I also ran some calculations to help cost justify the iPhone expense, by comparing and contrasting it with the ‘Call Waiting’ feature we added back when I was a kid in the 80’s, and that helped even more.

But once the dust settled, I came to an even more ground-breaking realization:

Kids getting a new iPhone as they enter Middle School, is the new Bar Mitzvah.

I know this may sound ludicrous, but let’s think about it….

When a Jewish boy turns 13, he has all the rights and obligations of a Jewish adult.  And as crazy as it sounds, society now deems the iPhone as the true delineation between child and adult. 

Child = borrow Mommy or Daddy’s iPhone to play ‘Crossy Road’ during allotted screen time.

Adult = have your very own iPhone to Text, Facetime and post to Instagram.

Let me break it down.. 

Old Tradition of becoming an adult-> Bar Mitzvah.  

New Tradition of becoming an adult -> Get iPhone.

Take a look…

  • Preparation / Study – Old days- learning the Hebrew language, educating yourself on the Torah and memorizing your Torah portion.  New way- researching which iPhone model you want to get.  New or hand-me-down?, iPhone 6 or 7, or the new XR or XS?  How much memory do you really need?
  • Haftarah / Bar Mitzvah Speech – in the Bar Mitzvah days, it was customary to chant the Torah reading, and then share your thoughts on the Torah portion in a speech.  Today’s equivalent is earning the right to read the incredible revelations found on your Facebook Feed, and then Liking, Sharing and maybe even making your own personal Post.  With today’s technology, this is no longer limited to just sharing with your synagogue, you can now share it with the whole World Wide Web!
  • Party – this used to be a big, expensive ordeal requiring you to rent a fancy room with a DJ, caterer, photo booth and the like.  But in today’s age- all you need is an intimate gathering to unwrap that white iPhone box, and start setting up your iOS device.
  • Mitzvah Project – Letting your little sister play ‘Crossy Road’, now that’s a good deed.
  • Gifts – duh..  getting your frickin’ iPhone!

Now for those of you that are keeping score at home, you may have noticed a slight discrepancy.  Kids typically enter Middle School at age 11, but technically- the minimum age requirement for Social Media is 13.  Ah ha!  This is one more argument linking the Bar Mitzvah age of 13 to the age one truly becomes a full-fledged adult and officially get the keys to the holy grail, Social Media.  The age in which one is finally entitled to walk the halls of Facebook, Instagram -and- Snapchat. 

That is the true indication that you’ve made it.  You are no longer a child, you are a bona-fide adult.  You will follow the terms and services of the Social Media platforms.  You will be a member of the Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat community.   You will text incessantly with your friends.  You will Facetime for no reason.  And when it’s all said and done, while you may no longer be welcome at your local temple..  there’s always the Apple Store at your local mall.

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