With colored strobe lights shining and Janet Jackson’s “All For You” blaring through the windows, the Davenport College dining hall was hopping Saturday night. But the majority of the party’s guests do not go to Yale.
The guests were hosted by Joseph Schottenfeld, the 13-year-old son of Davenport Master Richard Schottenfeld and Tanina Rostain. The party was a celebration of his becoming a bar mitzvah.
The carpool line extended down York Street at 8:30 p.m., as parents dropped off some 100 elementary- and middle-school-aged boys and girls. White and gold balloons ushered the tweens through the courtyard and into the dining hall, where a live disc jockey awaited them.
While the adults were socializing at a cocktail party in the adjacent common room, the ‘tweens played games and danced. Master Schottenfeld hired Yale University Dining Services to cater the event and Davenport students to serve as bartenders, gate greeters and photographers.
While Master Schottenfeld was not sure whether such an event had been held on campus in the past, he ultimately decided to hold the bar mitzvah in Davenport because it was familiar territory.
“It’s home to us and it’s home to him and it just felt like a nice place to do it,” he said. “The party was the culmination of a great day. I’m sure that it must have been fun for them.”
When the disc jockey began playing Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8ter Boi,” dozens of boys sat in chairs around the dance floor while young women, many wearing miniskirts, giggling and gossiping, danced with each other. One boy rode around the dining hall in a small red tricycle.
In an e-mail to his college, Master Schottenfeld invited Davenport students to join in the celebration and some took him up on the offer.
One 11-year-old girl sparkling with glitter makeup ran up to a Yale student, with a friend by her side. She asked him, “Do you go to Yale?” When he responded with the affirmative, she asked, “Are you a senior or something?” He said, “No, I’m a freshman.”
The girl looked at her friend, whispered something, and ran back to the other side of the room.
One of Joseph Schottenfeld’s Hebrew school friends, 12-year-old Nora Goldfield, said she thought it was “awesome” to dress up to come to a party on a college campus.
“It’s really cool coming to Yale,” she said. “The building is really nice.”