Way Better Than Beer

There’s an old Beer commercial that ran in the mid-70’s. I can’t find it in any internet archive, but I remember it very clearly:

A young kid walks into a pub and up to the bar. Nervously he asks for a (whatever the brand was) beer.

The bartender eyes him for a second and gruffly asks “Got any ID”?

The kid hands it over, looking even more nervous.

The bartender scrutinizes the driver’s license before pouring a beer from the tap, handing it over and with a smirk and a node, he exclaims “Happy Birthday, kid”.

The message was clear – the kid, obviously just turned 18 (which was the drinking age at the time) – was now a man, a member of the club. He was “in”.

Why am I mentioning this?

Last week (and on many weeks through the year) this scene plays out at my synagogue. Not with beer, but with Aliyot.

The week AFTER a the bar/bat mitzvah of one of our congregants, they come into the shul – it’s usually “just a regular Shabbat”. I’m sure in their head the day is a weird counterpoint to the hooplah of the previous week. They come in, put on their tallit, grab a siddur and go to sit down.

And without fail, the usher finds them and with a smirk and a nod, hands them a card indicating they have the honor of an Aliyah.

Happy Birthday, kid.