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Jewish Journal

Sit Down and Be Counted

by Carin Davis

November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

We've all heard the wedding hora horror stories, where the beautiful bride plummets 10 feet to the ground with a thud -- another unfortunate victim of the Jewish chair-dance tradition. Well, the MitzvahChair will put the kibosh on that newlywed nightmare.

A safety net for simchas, the MitzvahChair, which debuted at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel on Wilshire Boulevard, is now used at bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings throughout Los Angeles. The oversized white leather chair is mounted to a 2-inch-thick metal ring that allows up to 10 people, rather than four, to lift it. The additional hands allow for a more even distribution of weight, which, in turn, results in less tipping of the chair.

"It helps preserve a Jewish tradition," said Eric Spiegal, the MitzvahChair's inventor. "There are a lot of bat mitzvahs, brides, mother of the brides, who are too scared to be lifted. And father of the brides who are too heavy to be lifted."

The single-person chair, which can hold even a zaftig 400-pound bride, is angled back slightly to provide additional protection as well as room for a bustle.

The chairs, which are rented to event banquet halls, hotels, synagogues, florists and party planners for just $20 a month, are perfect for the bride who wants to throw out her bouquet, but not her back.

"The chairs are comfortable, elegant and reassuring" said Spiegal, a West Hills resident and member of Temple Judea. "And besides, safety is a mitzvah!"

For more information on the MitzvahChair, send an e-mail to mitzvahchair@aol.com .

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