According to Jewish tradition, a boy becomes a man at 13, when he's called before his community to read from the Torah and become a bar mitzvah, meaning "son of the commandments."
In the case of Daniel Blumen, who will make this rite of passage in May, this homestretch of childhood has suddenly become a viral event.
Rather than send out simple save-the-date cards or email announcements, Daniel busted out and did something different. A fan of rap music, this only child and "clever little guy," as described by his father, made a music video -- for which he wrote most of his own lyrics -- playing off Jermaine Dupri's "Welcome to Atlanta," featuring Ludacris.
Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play,
Hope you can make my bar mitzvah day.
Thirteen years since I was born,
And the party won't stop till Sunday mornin'.
The video features Daniel plugging landmark sites across the city -- Turner Field, the Olympic rings, the Georgia Aquarium -- and includes a smattering of celebs. Ne-Yo holds up a sign in a photo: "To My Lil Rapper D Mazel Tov!" In another image, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley sit at the TNT Halftime Report desk, where Daniel also appears.
The final product was intended for friends and family and went out two weeks ago. But on Tuesday, a staff writer at Tablet magazine, Adam Chandler, saw it on Facebook after a friend of a friend shared it. He wrote a quick piece for the online Jewish publication, and social media took over -- landing Daniel in the spotlight and on national TV.
"I've never done anything even closely related to this," said Daniel, who explained that he and his mom were inspired by a save-the-date video that a kid from New York made a couple of years ago, playing off Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind." "It was really good, but we wanted to do something funnier that had to do with Atlanta."
The reviews from friends and family have been great. And plenty of strangers are loving it, too, including Frank Ski, an Atlanta radio and TV personality.
Ski, who appeared in the original Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris video, was one of a handful of local celebs to make cameo appearances in Daniel's. He has a son in Daniel's school and a friend who practices law in the same firm as Daniel's parents. So when the friend approached him about the project, he couldn't resist. Daniel went to Frank Ski's Restaurant & Lounge, and after 15 minutes in the DJ booth together they had what they needed.
"It was pretty simple and painless," Ski said. As for the final product: "Very creative," he said. "Hilarious."
Another fan is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who also made an appearance after Daniel's mom sent a request to the mayor's office.
"Mayor Reed has an extremely busy schedule, but he has a soft spot for kids and this seemed like a fun, easy thing to do. ... It only took a few minutes," spokeswoman Sonji Jacobs wrote in an e-mail. "We did not know it would go viral. We think it is very cute."
Not everyone who's come across the video is pleased, however. There are plenty of oys and ughs, claims that this is an insult to a faith and a people, and other sweeping generalizations about what the video represents. One woman wrote on Facebook: "Gag. This would be cute if it weren't so excessive. I'm embarrassed on behalf of The Temple (the synagogue Daniel's family attends), my home city and southern Jewry."
The thing is, beyond the kid in New York who inspired the idea, Daniel is far from alone in doing this. Do a quick YouTube search, and there are oodles of less compelling save-the-date videos.
The criticisms are mind-blowing to Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple, who agreed to a quick cameo himself. He said he knows countless synagogues that release playful videos, including raps, to ramp up High Holy Day attendance. And it's not as if this is Daniel's actual bar mitzvah, a ceremony the boy is taking very seriously.
"This is just a kid's save-the-date that he's sending to Aunt Sylvia," said Berg. "He's a good kid. He's excited about his bar mitzvah, and I think it's a shame people are being critical."
Even the headline to the Tablet story made a little dig: "Bar Mitzvah Video Eclipses GDP of Small Nations."
That, too, is laughable to those who were involved. Berg said no one was paid to be in the video. It was shot in a day (other than quick cameos) and edited by a recent college grad, 21-year-old Gabi Chennisi, with the help of her boyfriend. Chennisi, who freelances around Atlanta and does work for CNN sister network HLN, said she got no more than $2,000 for the job -- one she couldn't have enjoyed more.
"I want people to look for the spirit in the video," she said. "He was not taking himself too seriously. The family wanted to have a good time with it, and he had a blast."
And for those who complain that Daniel's parents, Rick Blumen and Liz Price, have nothing better to do with their money?
"This cost much less than the printed invitations (to the bar mitzvah), which aren't lavish either," Daniel's dad said. "We'll have a normal service and normal party afterward. We're not looking to top any lists or do anything spectacular."