Courteney Cox surprises Borehamwood teen who cancelled Friends-themed barmitzvah
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Courteney Cox surprises Borehamwood teen who cancelled Friends-themed barmitzvah

Star of the much-loved sitcom told Naftali Arden, 13: 'I was touched by your story. Since you couldn’t have you barmitzvah like you had expected, I got you a foosball table!'

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

A barmitzvah boy from Borehamwood got the surprise of a lifetime, after getting to virtually meet one of his TV idols from the hit series Friends, Courteney Cox.

Naftali Arden, who recently turned 13, was invited onto The Late Late Show with James Corden, to speak about his virtual celebration last month – that attracted more than 5,000 views online.

The teen was forced to change his plans for a party inspired by Friends after lockdown was imposed, leading to what his rabbi, Alex Chapper of Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue said was the “first-ever virtual barmitzvah”.

Naftali told Cordon on the programme: “I thought it would just be a small thing with my family and just a few friends. It turned out to be so big!”.

The host responded that a “friend of mine was also impressed” with the online barmitzvah, as he introduced Courteney Cox, who played Monica Geller in the much-loved series. 

Seeing her appear on the call, Arden says “oh my gosh!”, before telling her he’s watched the whole series seven times, despite being born two years before the show concluded.

Cox told him: “I was really touched by your story. Since you couldn’t have you bar mitzvah like you had expected, I decided to get you a foosball table just like the one in Joey and Chandler’s apartment.”

Arden’s mother, Tania, said the idea behind the appearance came “four or five weeks ago. I had a Facebook message from one of the producers on the show [The Late Late Show], and I didn’t really believe it.

“I had quite a lot of zoom calls with two or three producers. He was saying it might not happen, but we’d love to chat to him [Naftali].” 

“They filmed it all last Thursday. The Courtney Cox thing was a total surprise.”

Saying her teenage son “was gobsmacked and really excited to tell everyone” about speaking to the star, she told him not to “because I didn’t know if it was going to air”.

“Obviously the best outcome would be no coronavirus and celebrating with our family and our friends – but this is really not a bad place second.”

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