IT'S EITHER THIS OR A STATE OF ISRAEL BOND: So, I was down in Miami this weekend for the bar mitzvah of my mom's cousin's younger son -- my mom's cousin and her husband having left the Philadelphia area for Sunny Florida 20+ years ago, and I've met the honoree only about 3-4 times before this weekend.
But he strikes me as a bright, thoughtful kid with a sense of humor who's occasionally harassed by his 16-year-old brother, and it occurred to me that rather than just gifting him with a cash equivalent or the like, that I might be able to assemble for him some kind of Survival Kit and Guide Book For Remaining A Mensch In Your Teenage Years, a collection of books and DVDs that might help him keep his bearings and mature over time. Like, I think every teenage Jewish boy needs a copy of Woody Allen's Without Feathers. Maybe John Edgar Wideman's Brothers and Keepers, but thirteen may be too young for that. And he should see School Ties. What else?