DEAR ABBY: I have read your column for years and usually agree wholeheartedly with your advice. However, I was stunned to read your reply to "On the Spot" in New Jersey, who chose not to invite her neighbor's 8- and 6-year-old children to her son's bar mitzvah.
Yes, it's true that children are invited to bar mitzvahs. But in this case, the neighbor's children are not family and are too young to be playmates of the bar mitzvah boy. The parents are within their rights to exclude these children from the guest list, especially when the cost of additional guests is taken into consideration. Furthermore, it was rude of the invitees to RSVP that their uninvited children would attend. -- LINDA M., ROCKVILLE, MD.
DEAR LINDA: You're right -- I goofed. My readers were quick to set me straight. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am 14 and recently had a bat mitzvah myself. I understand the situation. This was a challenge for our family, too.
Abby, these affairs are expensive, and it is not always affordable to include kids who are not close to the family. Also, young children can't sit through a three-hour service. That mother should discuss the situation with her neighbors and tell them that due to budget and space restrictions, the number of guests is limited. -- ASHLEY S., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIF.
DEAR ASHLEY: Where were you when I needed you?
DEAR ABBY: The bottom line is, it takes "chutzpah" to include uninvited children. -- SUE K., WEST ORANGE, N.J.
DEAR SUE: It also takes a lot of nerve or gall ("chutzpah") to bring uninvited guests to weddings, anniversaries and other invitation-only events. However, if my mail is an indicator, chutzpah is one commodity that's never in short supply.