Today, in news our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of:
Jewish comedian Jenny Mollen approached the mixed-gender prayer space at the Western Wall, holding a Torah and wearing a sheer tallis-like shawl, embroidered with the name of her deceased dog, “Teets.” It was her 40th birthday, and she was having her bat mitzvah.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and we’re prepared to do it. Mollen, an actress and best-selling writer known for her comic book “I Like You The Way I Am” spent the week leading up to her 40th birthday in the holy land with her husband [Jason Biggs — the “American Pie” star more recently of “Orange Is The New Black” who, surprisingly, is not Jewish.
Mollen, who was raised Jewish but never had a bat mitzvah, celebrated hers on Thursday at Robinson’s Arch, the part of the Western Wall designated for mixed gender prayer. The new member of the Jewish adult community posted the picture on Instagram, noting to her followers that she took on the new Hebrew name “Mair,” which means “one who illuminates.” Her shawl — which we think, but cannot prove, is a take on a tallit — was custom designed by Alice+Olivia for the ceremony.
Mollen, Biggs, and Mollen’s sister and sister’s husband, have spent the rest of their time in Israel touring historic sites and dining in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on what they’re calling “Jenny’s Birthright.”
Mazal tov, Jenny! A bat mitzvah to remember.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny