By Maury Z. Levy
“BAR MITZVAH,” the rabbi shouted, “is not a verb.” Eddie Golden, who is the leader of Eddie Golden and his Band of Gold, is blowing his horn so loud into the microphone that the rabbi can hardly hear himself, which is an important thing for rabbis since they are usually the only ones who listen.
The people behind him are dancing a freylach, which is something like a hora, which is something like insanity. To do this you need at least 20 people holding hands in a circle going at top speed in different directions around a 70-year-old grandmother doing a Russian Cossack dance on the floor.
Bubby Katz, in her strapless, floor-length, scarlet gown by Eva Melnick, head of Eva Melnick Creations, is shaking a leg or two. “Let’s hear it for Bubby Katz!” Eddie Golden yells. The cousins cheer.
“Bar Mitzvah,” the rabbi shouts, “is a noun. You do not get Bar Mitzvahed. You become a Bar Mitzvah, or you celebrate a Bar Mitzvah. You do not get Bar Mitzvahed.”
“Hey, get a load of the rabbi here,” Uncle Meyer says. “Hey, Lil, look at this. He got all fapitzed. Look at this suit, Lil, it’s just like our Eric’s. Where’s Eric? Eric, the rabbi’s wearing your suit. Where’d you get it, Rabbi? You got it at Diamond’s, right? That’s where we got Eric’s. Where the hell is that kid? Lil, where’s Eric? I want the rabbi to see his suit.”
“I think he’s in the bathroom,” Aunt Lil says.”I think he’s throwing up.”
“Damn kid. It’s not even his Bar Mitzvah. I’d better go find him. Here, Rabbi, have a Seven and Seven. Lil, talk to the rabbi until I get back.”
“I don’t think we’ve met formally, Rabbi. I’m Lil Moskowitz, Mark’s aunt. And that was my husband Meyer Moskowitz, Mark’s uncle. We both enjoyed your speech today at the Temple, especially when you talked about teaching Jewish heritage to these young kids today, Rabbi. You don’t know how important that is.
“When we were their age our parents taught us what it was to be a Jew. They taught us all the important things about the religion—like how it was a sin to go out with Gentiles. But these kids today, you think they listen? My own Eric even. Rabbi, last month my Eric brought home a girl to us. Rabbi, I’m ashamed to tell you this, her name was Carmella. Carmella! Can you believe it, Rabbi? You try to teach a kid about Judaism. What would you do, Rabbi?”
Meyer is back. “Lil, I’m gonna kill that kid. I swear I’m gonna kill him. Eric, I tell him, stay away from the bar. You know your stomach. Don’t look for trouble. Drink ginger ale. But no, three whiskey sours he has and now it’s all over his goddamn suit and we’re goin’ home. Lil, I’ll kill him, I swear I will. Oh, excuse us, Rabbi. Something’s come up. We’ve got to go. Nice meeting you, I’m sure.”
“THE AGE OF THE Bar Mitzvah has varied a little through the centuries,” the rabbi tells a Read the rest of this entry »