Alert: A Movie About an Adult Bar Mitzvah Is Coming

"31 Candles" starring Jonah Feingold, Jackie Sandler and Catherine Cohen also features a real-life bar mitzvah.

Teen b-mitzvah movies are SO last summer! Yesterday, Variety announced that Jewish director Jonah Feingold’s latest project is — *drum roll* — an adult bar mitzvah movie.

“31 Candles,” an independent rom-com, tells the story of 30-year-old New Yorker Leo Kadner (Feingold). After running into Eva Shapiro (Sarah Coffey), his crush from summer camp, Leo decides to embark on the journey of becoming a bar mitzvah. Per Variety, “He must navigate situationships, exes, and relatives to complete his Mitzvah project… and maybe even grow up. The coming-of-age film explores tradition, identity, and how far someone will go for a former love.”

The movie also stars Jackie Sandler, Caroline Aaron (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Catherine Cohen (“The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous”), Larry Owens (“Abbott Elementary”), Talia Suskauer (“Wicked” on Broadway) and Judy Gold (her credits are too numerous to just choose one) as Rabbi Zeldin.

For Feingold, who also wrote the film, it’s definitely a personal story. Not only is “31 Candles” loosely based on his life (for example, “Kadner” is his mother’s maiden name), but Feingold tells Hey Alma that the bar mitzvah in the movie is a real, albeit small one! The ceremony was led by Judy Gold and Feingold’s real family was in attendance on the day of the shoot.

Interestingly, “31 Candles” isn’t the only adult b-mitzvah movie announced this year. In May, Variety published the news that Jewish actors Carol Kane and Jason Schwartzman will be playing an adult bat mitzvah student and cantor respectively in “Between Two Temples,” an upcoming anxious comedy. This leads us at Hey Alma to wonder: are adult b-mitzvahs about to start trending in pop culture?! We surely hope so!

Either way, whenever “31 Candles” comes out, we cannot wait to see it!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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