Greetings, I have a question and don’t want to come off as a judgmental jerk or anything, I just don’t understand it at all and want to get some other perspectives. First off, I’m still a new Jew (just converted a few months ago) and I was invited to the bar mitzvah of an acquaintance’s son. I’ve never been to one, so initially I was somewhat excited, but I see it’s being held at a country club. To be clear, the party isn’t just at a country club, the entire ceremony is.
Is this a common thing? Is it a Los Angeles thing? It seems very odd to me to hold a religious event like this at a country club. It strikes me as completely devoid of meaning to not have it at a synagogue (or held in conjunction with a synagogue- due to the pandemic I know many kids at my shul had their b’nai mitzvah in their backyard or some other outdoor location when the synagogue was closed, but that’s totally understandable and a rabbi was still present). I know this family has simply opted out of being a member of a synagogue- I’ve been told bluntly they don’t see it as a worthwhile expense. It’s not a matter of financial difficulties, or lack of options (it’s LA, plenty of synagogues to choose from here), it’s just not a priority. Which, that’s fine, to each their own, but if you opt out of a synagogue community like that, why go through with a bar mitzvah ceremony?
I grew up in a Christian family, which obviously influences my frame of reference, and I can’t help but think of how absurd it would be to get invited to someone’s first communion at a venue like that. It wouldn’t happen that way, it’s a religious ceremony, it’s only appropriate in a church. How is this different? Being called to the Torah at a country club strikes me as disingenuous at best, and downright sacrilegious at worst.
Any feedback is appreciated, and apologies if this is normal and I’m missing the bigger picture. This is something that was NOT covered in my Introduction to Judaism course.