The barmitzvah that had everything

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010
Guy Colman and his grandfather

Guy Colman and his grandfather

There was a barmitzvah on the BBC on Monday evening as the channel aired a programme about lavish children’s birthday parties, featuring a Jewish family from Chigwell in Essex.

Guy Colman’s party at the Four Seasons Hotel in London was one of four celebrations included in the programme “My Child's Big Fat Birthday Party”.

Others were a cowboy-themed party for an eight-year-old and a winter wonderland affair with live reindeers.

Thirteen-year-old Guy was barmitzvah in October 2009 at Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue, where he read a portion from Lech Lecha.

His grandfather Frank Redding also celebrated his second barmitzvah on the same day.

But the focus of the programme was not on the ceremony but on the parties afterwards, which as the presenter said had become so lavish “they have threatened to overshadow the religious aspect.”

The documentary revealed that the party, to which Guy invited 40 friends, had set the Colmans back tens of thousands of pounds.

There was everything from a caricaturist to toastmaster, and from a magician to women with feather boas to escort Guy in.

Guy’s father Warren, a former City worker, said he was delighted with it all.

But he agreed that if people weren’t used to Jewish functions “then they would think, wow”.

Meanwhile Guy, at first excited that “this is going on till 1:30,” could be found at the end of the night curled up on a chair ready for bed.

Watch the documentary here.

Last updated: 11:41am, October 14 2010