Tiffany Haddish reconnects with her Jewish root as she marks 40th birthday with Bat Mitzvah

Theodora Aidoo Dec 10, 2019 at 11:30am

December 10, 2019 at 11:30 am | Diaspora Connect

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

December 10, 2019 at 11:30 am | Diaspora Connect

Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah - Pic Credit: Getty Images

Tiffany Haddish recently celebrated her 40th birthday in Beverly Hills and on the occasion she released her Netflix comedy special, ‘Black Mitzvah’.

The comedian also celebrated her bat mitzvah in honour of her Jewish heritage on the same night with her Jewish celebrity friends including Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman and Billy Crystal who reportedly recited blessings over the Torah.

The religious ceremony was followed with a reception, a red carpet and a dance under a disco ball in the private party with traditional Jewish celebration song, “Hava Naliga”.

Pic Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Bar or bat mitzvah ceremonies are “coming of age” rituals for boys and girls which openly confirm a person’s Jewish identity. The history of the bar mitzvah dates back to a fifth-century rabbinic text references (still part of a traditional bar mitzvah) recited by the father thanking God for freeing him from responsibility for the deeds of his child, who is now accountable for his own actions, according to Jewish reports.

During the ceremony, the participant will be called up to the Torah to say the blessings known as “getting an aliyah”. The boy or girl usually chant portions from the Torah and deliver a short sermon.

The ritual is carried out around the ages of 12 or 13. However, American synagogues now have special programs for adults just like Haddish who didn’t have the chance to participate as a child.

From left: Susan Silverman, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Tiffany Haddish, Aliza Rose Silverman and Billy Crystal at the bat mitzvah ceremony – Pic Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The star had been preparing for the bat mitzvah ceremony for several months, studying Hebrew and learning about Jewish ritual.

Haddish learned about her Jewish roots later in her life, after reconnecting with her father, an Eritrean-born Jew. The reunion inspired Haddish to explore her Jewish identity.

In 1996 from the age of 17 even though she had worked as a dancer and MC at bat mitzvahs, she hadn’t known much about that part of her identity.  

“I didn’t know anything about Judaism for a long time,” she said.

“As I got into that profession as an energy producer, I started learning more and more about the Torah. I could really relate to it. And when I met my father, it really resonated with me. I was like: This is what I am. I did my 23&Me, and it said the same thing. I [thought], well, I can’t deny this. I wanna claim it.”

Haddish became interested in her Jewish heritage after meeting her father for the first time at age 27.

Born in Los Angeles to an African-American mother and an Eritrean father who entered the United States as a refugee, Haddish has always spoken passionately about her Eritrean heritage and her strong bond with her family back home. Just last year, the Girls Trip star visited the Horn of Africa nation in what was an emotional homecoming to bury her father and also meet and connect with her relatives.

Leading up to her return back home this year, Haddish shared her excitement and her eagerness to meet her family and people in a video.

Actress and comedian, Haddish is Eritrean and proud and she never backs down from flaunting her heritage whenever she gets the chance and she says everyone should embrace their roots.

“As black people, when we were brought here to America, a lot of our heritage was stripped from us, and me being able to do my DNA test and find out who I really am and what I am and learn more about my people and the heritage, I feel like it’s very important to share that with the world,” she told Hollywood Reporter.

“We can all start digging and find out who we are and what we are and start having some honour and pride in ourselves”.

Most viewed

Conversations

Must Read