Tradition has it that bar mitzvah invitations arrive in expensive-looking envelopes, via snail mail. But paper is so 20th Century! But a YouTube video invitation featuring the bar mitzvah-boy singing re-written Queen lyrics and going "Gangnam Style" in order to honor both his Jewish and Asian heritage -- oy, that's something new!
It's also pretty creative, well-made and funny! The video -- which is racking up the views now that it's gone public on YouTube -- is the creation of Toronto-based Jorel Hoffert and his father David. They just wanted to "have a good, creative bar mitzvah invitation," Jorel told TODAY.com, and thought a video invite would be a brand new thing.
OK, so they were wrong -- there are plenty of other video bar mitzvah tributes and invites out there, but few this professional looking and, well, multi-cultural. Partly that has to do with Jorel growing up in a very creative household: His Taiwanese mother is an opera singer, and his father directs both reality shows ("My House, Your Money" on HGTV is one) and documentaries. No wonder Jorel is comfortable both singing and dancing on camera at an age when most adolescents don't even want their picture taken.
"I sing just for fun, usually in my room," Jorel said. "Sometimes my parents will complain. ... I like making videos. I also kind of like acting."
The song choices -- a Queen medley (featuring cameos by Jorel's parents and grandparents) and a leap into "Gangnam Style" (featuring his piano teacher) were a perfect blend of father and son's musical interests. "My dad mostly picked the songs, and we collaborated to write the lyrics," explained Jorel. "At the time I was very big on 'Gangnam Style.' I first saw it when I was in Taiwan last summer. My dad's a big rock-and-roller, and I also love Queen."
Of course, no one thought it would take off the way it did. The video invite (which, by the way, also came with a traditional print invitation) was originally private just for expected guests, but after it initially went out David decided to let it go public. "We didn't make it to go viral," he insisted.
"I didn't think that many people would watch it," said Jorel. "I'm pretty surprised."
Of course, they did have to change the YouTube note that comes with the video, hoping to avoid party crashers. It now reads: "If you have been invited to Jorel's Bar Mitzvah, you know who you are. If not ... please enjoy the video!"
This won't likely be Jorel and David's last collaboration. "Next I think I'll try to do something like a superhero or sci-fi, like comic-booky," said the bar mitzvah boy who, incidentally, was named after Superman's father.
"About 10 percent of people get that," chuckled David. "I always think it's cool."