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For Jews Born On Leap Day, A Second Chance At A Bar Mitzvah

CRAIG ROSENBERG: My name is Craig Rosenberg, and I am 13 years old today.


Well, actually Rosenberg has been around for 52 years. But because he was born on leap day in 1964, this is technically only the 13th time he's had a birthday. And because Craig is Jewish, this birthday has special significance.

ROSENBERG: In the Jewish religion a boy or a girl, when they turn 13 years old, can have a bar mitzvah or a bat mitzvah, respectively. And that signifies them turning into a man or a woman.


Back in 1977, Rosenberg's parents gave him a choice. They let him decide whether or not have a bar mitzvah, and he wasn't into it at the time. But this year, he's getting another chance.

ROSENBERG: A couple of weeks ago, we were sitting at the dinner table. And my son has been studying for his bar mitzvah, and he says to me unexpectedly, dad, you're turning 13 this year, too. I think you should have a bar mitzvah with me. And I never really considered that, but I thought that was a very interesting idea.

SHAPIRO: Rosenberg says he took the suggestion to heart, and he's working on a contribution to make his son's bar mitzvah in June a joint one of sorts.

CORNISH: Wendy Goldberg, who shares the same birth date as Rosenberg, did have a bat mitzvah back in 1977, but her sister decided she needed another one now that she is officially 13. Her sister orchestrated a mini bat mitzvah dinner party last night.

WENDY GOLDBERG: She made goodie bags for all of the guests. Included in the goodie bags were socks, like kids at bar and bat mitzvahs wear on the dance floor. Everybody got a deck of cards with my picture on them, and everybody got a thumb drive with the top songs from 1977, which was the year of my actual bat mitzvah.

SHAPIRO: Goldberg remembers some of those songs playing at her party back in 1977.

GOLDBERG: "Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs, "On And On" by Stephen Bishop, "I'm Your Boogie Man," KC and the Sunshine Band.

CORNISH: Well, we wish a happy birthday to Craig Rosenberg, Wendy Goldberg and all of the newly minted 52-year-olds out there who are at long last becoming men and women today.

SHAPIRO: Mazel tov.


KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND: (Singing) I'm your boogie man. That's what I am. I'm here to do whatever I can. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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