The Story Of My Bar Mitzvah by Don Lerman

2 Minutes Read
    I was 10 years old my parents brought me to the local Shul to be enrolled in Hebrew school. It was the Kissina Jewish Center In Flushing. They were greeted by the Rabbi his name was  Rabbi Kupchick. He wouldn’t accept me to be enrolled in the Chayda because I was 10 and not 8 years of age.
My parents explained that all of our  relatives lived in Brooklyn and The parents would start their kids in Chayda ( Hebrew School) at ten so we thought nothing wrong to bring me there when I was he 10 . The Rabbi said ”’Well this isn’t ‘Brooklyn”! My father said can you possible start him with the new class with the  8 year olds and then we can get one on one lessons and bring him up to the 10 year old class? A big resounding “NO” from Rabbi Kupchick.
My mother went on to say that her son wanted to be Bar Mitzvahed  and he wants a Jewish education. We also want a Jewish education for him as well. The Rabbi said its your fault & you should have brought him here at 8 years of age
“But we didn’t know”My Mother replied back to him ” as she wiped away her tears from her eyes…My mother said that if I was a Gentile Woman  and was marring a Jewish man and came to you in order to be converted  with my 10-year-old son whould you then accept him in Hebrew School ? “Yes’ Rabbi Kupchick relied back.
Then my mother said why take out on my kid he didn’t know.’ “Well you knew he yelled back and We were shown the door.
In retrospect my parents should have went to the President of the Shul after all the Rabbi the Shuls authority on Religious matter’s however he is basically a contractual employee. You should have him  brought on to the carpet at the Synagogues Presidents office  and had  him straightened out.  Now fast forward 2 more years have passed and no Hebrew school would take me.
2.Then they hired a Rabbi Sirbradic , who would come to my house once a week for one hour at our small apartment. I had a Great Uncle who lived in my building and I would study with him during the week. His brother was a Famous Canadian Chassain by the name of Daniel Silver so my great Uncle was no slouch when it came to studying with. There was only one problem  my great Uncle was Ashkenazic and would pronounce Hebrew with an Ashkenazi  pronunciation while Rabbi Sirbradic was a Sephardi  Jew with a different way of pronouncing Hebrew. My great Uncle told me when I was being schooled my Rabbi Sirbradic not to forget and slip up with the wrong  pronunciation.Well Rabbi Sirbradic arrived at my apartment my mother proceeded to pay him first his $10 for the lesson . Then after reading the some of the lesson..I slipped and made the wrong pronunciation.”Who tought you that he screamed at the top of his lungs’.I said  no one. then threw the $10 on the table and said I won’t have this  and said I quit!
My mother was nearly in tears … she said he needs his great-Uncle how can he learn a Haftarah in only 6 months, she pleaded to him not to leave us in the lurch. He ran out the door and  he never returned. I studied for 5 hours a night . My parents went back to the Kissina Jewish center to see if they can use their facilities for my Bar Mitzvah day …Rabbi Kupchick said I  am under no obligation to let you use our shull a load resounding NO!!!
3. Now we had to find a place quickly to have me say my Haftorah, places would take us but like the Temple Gates of Prayer in Flushing .. They demanded an arm &  leg. Finally my father learned that in the shoe factory that he worked there was a worker who  was a part-time Cantor  at a shul at Howard Ave.in Brownsville Brooklyn. we finally got a shul and their basement for the reception.
4. ON the day of my big event my great-Uncle said we will park around the block and walk , if the Cantor says where did you stay last night we will tell them at your grandfathers in  Brownsville as we drove from Flushing and you’re not suppose  to drive on Sabbath. The Cantor did ask us just that and we said what we planned  that we slept at my Grandfathers apartment.
He then asked the questioned where did the quests come from ? As they arrived the Cantor wanted  to know where did they all came from ? When everyone told him he blew a gasket and had a fit . My father who worked him for 20 years said “you know we all don’t  reside in  Brownsville and the Cantor gave my father a  piece of his mind.  My father told him to stop as he is farsthering a simcha
5..Soon after by Bar Mitzvah my Uncles Father died and I made the Minion for Mincah and Mirive for 11 months and then my Grandmother died and I mad the minion for another 11 months for Mincah & Mirive.
I paid my dues as a  Jew. I am what you might call unaffiliated not belong to any particular congregation but  a Proud Jew non the less. I can see  why there is so much assimilation and intermarriage today. How sad  but who do we only have blame?  The heartless self-serving Rabbi’s  ..Who died and made them the boss?
Why did the  Jews of the 1950’s, & 1960’s let these Jewish leaders hijack the Jewish religion for their self serving purposes like a big 6 figure salary?.Before 1950 nearly every Jewish family belonged to a Synogoge..it was very afforable…no more  .I wonder why?

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MOSES LERMAN BLOG  ADMINISTRATOR & EDITOR

 

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