YouTube invite brings in 80,000 barmitzvah guests

By Katie Taylor, November 5, 2010
The Goodman family

The Goodman family

A barmitzvah invitation which assumed a life of its own on the Internet has gone to more than 80,000 people — and the numbers are still rising.

Michael and Jacqui Goodman, formerly of Edgware, north London, decided to send out a different kind of invitation to the barmitzvah of their son, Eyal.

The Goodmans, who now live in Tel Mond, Israel, and emigrated three years ago, took a film clip from a tv mini-series, the biblical saga, Jacob. Mr Goodman put his own subtitles on the film so that Jacob and Esau are apparently discussing how to get to Eyal's barmitzvah, on November 20. They then put the invitation on YouTube.

To the family's astonishment, they began to receive replies from all over the world — because their guests had been so entertained by the mini-home movie that they had sent the clip to their friends. It went viral: to date, at least 70,000 people have seen the film.

Mrs Goodman said: “We decided we wanted to be creative with our invitation. We sent a private link to our guests through email. I was worried that people wouldn’t look at their emails and no one would turn up to the barmitzvah – how wrong I was.”

Eyal Goodman

Eyal Goodman

Mr Goodman added: "Unless you had the link, you couldn’t search for it. People have just sent it to their friends until it became viral.

“We thought it would be a humorous way to enhance the usual barmitzvah invitation.”

Mr Goodman said: “I’ve had replies from people as far as Alaska and Australia.

“I’ve also had an offer to work with a film producer in Hollywood, who said she liked my ideas.”

The barmitzvah boy, Eyal said: “I think it is cool that my barmitzvah invitation has gone global, but it is just another barmitzvah – it’s no big deal.”

The Goodmans have decided to capitalise on the success of the film for a positive cause.

Mr Goodman said: “Our community in Tel Mond is trying to build a new synagogue at the moment. We are now raising money to fund the building, from people that have seen the film and enjoyed it.

“We are now receiving donations from as far as Italy."

Eyal said: “I’m glad something good can come out of it and we can help to rebuild the synagogue.”

Mr Goodman added: “Just today we have received $100 from someone that was inspired that a 13-year-old boy was helping his synagogue."

He joked: “Due to the barmitzvah becoming so high profile, it has been recommended that we have extra security on the doors – just in case.”

Watch the invitation here

Last updated: 11:03am, November 8 2010