How could you not want this woman at your bar mitzvah? ((Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)

Battle of the Bar Mitzvahs: Cardi B vs. Rich the Kid

A bona fide Upper West Side Jewess reviews Cardi B and Rich the Kid's recent bar mitzvah performances.

by Emma Specter
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Oct 23 2018, 4:14pm

How could you not want this woman at your bar mitzvah? ((Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)

I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is to say that I’ve been to my share of mitzvahs, both bar and bat. My seventh grade year was a blur of chocolate fountains, faltering Torah portions, and RAZR-texted gossip about who stole champagne from the adults’ table and made out with Adam B. in the rabbi’s office (reader, I think it’s been long enough to spill the tea: it was Lila K.).

All these fond, Aquolina Pink Sugar-scented memories came screaming back to me when I read that Cardi B and Rich the Kid recently performed at “dueling bat mitzvah parties” in New York. Rich the Kid helped usher the son of Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick, Ryan (or “Ryan L.,” as I assume he’s referred to over whatever form of online communication the kids now favor), into Jewish manhood at the Met’s Temple of Dendur. Meanwhile, Cardi B joined the Knicks City Dancers at Tao downtown to celebrate a bar mitzvah boy she referred to on her Instagram story as “this cute little boy called Jake.”

Cardi and Rich aren't the first megastars to get in on the bar mitzvah magic—everyone from Snoop Dogg to Beyoncé to Drake (duh) has made appearance at lucky Jewish 13-year-olds’ parties in the past, with Cardi B’s nemesis Nicki Minaj even crashing a bar mitzvah and posing for what Gawker termed “the horniest photo of all time” (see below).

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Nicki Minaj crashing a bar mitzvah in 2015.

You might be tempted to think of a bar mitzvah as a solemn occasion meant to mark the passage of an adolescent from the innocence of childhood into full membership within the Jewish faith, but I’m here to tell you that it is all! about! the! celebs! But which bar mitzvah wore it best? I mean, this is Met Gala credibility versus Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian’s favorite Manhattan hot spot. How could a not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman choose?

While Cardi B seems like the obvious choice, being more famous (and commanding a hefty $500,000 appearance fee to Rich the Kid's paltry $200,000 to $300,000), I’m going to put in a plug for Rich the Kid’s performance. After all, the last thing a newly minted bar or bat mitzvah kid wants is to have his or her flawless Torah recitation upstaged by the newly minted Queen of Rap.

Plus: Ryan’s party featured catering by Caviar Kaspia and guests including the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson herself. Jake—or Downtown Jake, as I'm now calling him—entered the party with the Knicks City Dancers. Pretty swank, but everyone ate Artichoke Pizza, which is peak “drunk NYU freshman” cuisine. Sure, your fellow seventh graders might come for the lavish spread and star-studded celebrity appearances, but you want them to stay for you, not Cardi. Nevertheless, a hearty mazel tov to both Jake and Ryan—we're pleased to have you as part of the minyan.