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Say hello to Buttmitzvah: London's first queer Jewish night

Written by
Amy Smith

London’s first ever queer Jewish club night is arriving next month and putting the ‘Oy Gay!’ into the ancient teenage Jewish ritual, Bar Mitzvah. The tagline alone for Buttmitzvah is hilarious: 'the ultimate cumming of age party'. This very, very camp makeover will transform queer boozer The Glory on Kingsland Road on November 19 into a little boychik's wet dream.

‘I am gay and have a strong Jewish identity. I wanted to bring both together. Also, I really wanted to capture the incredibly camp and joyous elements of a Bar Mitzvah and bring people together for something incredibly inclusive,’ said organiser Josh Cole. ‘Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs [for girls] have become very over-the-top events. It’s a lot like a wedding but with a lot of 13-year olds having the party of their lives. My brother entered his Bar Mitzvah to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ with backing dancers. So camp!’

Not only are Amy Winehouse and '90s Eurovision star Dana International 'scheduled' to make an appearance (we're guessing in cabaret form) but a live klezmer band will also be on hand to accompany some traditional chair dancing. One very lucky person will even be chosen as Buttmitzvah boy or girl, hoisted onto a chair and presented with a ‘mildly inappropriate’ version of the Bar Mitzvah speech to read aloud.


Organiser Josh Cole

Cole is no stranger to creating popular club nights – he is behind gay hip hop night 'Hard Cock Life' – and noticed a gap in the market.

‘There’s not a lot of celebrations about being Jewish in this country. Even though we love so many Jewish icons, Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, we don’t really celebrate being Jewish,’ said Cole. ‘Various immersive performers will act as the family and there will be lots of dancing and eating and a band playing all night.’

Buttmitzvah is possibly also the first night to combine bagels, Barbara Streisand (or someone who looks a lot like her) and drag kings dancing to Hava Nagila. 

Josh first posted the event on Facebook on Tuesday and has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback. He says, ‘The response has been unbelievable. I don’t know why it’s captured so many people's imagination. It should in theory be the best thing ever! People in nightlife can be really serious and it should be really fun and purely joyous’

The night is open to all, with the Facebook event inviting: ‘Jews & Non-Jews, Chosen Ones & Unchosen Ones, Boys, Chicks & Boychiks, plus all those clever enough to have transcended gender'. 

Growing up never sounded so fun.

Find out more about Buttmitzvah here. 

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