The Story Of My Bar Mitzvah by Don Lerman

  1. 1.    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 the Rabbi, A Rabbi Kupchick. He wouldn’t except 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 Rabib said ”’well this isn’t ‘Brooklyn” My father said can you possible start him with the ne w class of 8 year olds and then we can get one on one lessons and bring him up to the 10 year  class. A big resounding no from Rabbi Kupchick. MY mother went on to say that her son wanted to be Bar Miztivated and want a Jewish education as we do to for him to . The Rabbi said its your fault  & you should have brought him here at 8 years of age , “but we didn’t know”.Too bad’ said Rabbi Kupchick. My mother said what if I was a convert from another region would you then accept him at 10 years of age  instead of 8. Rabbi Kupchick replied back ”’YES’. The 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 thou is the Shuls authority  on Religious matter’s she is basiclly a contractual employee have him straightened out.  Now fast forward 2 more years have passd 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  prouncation 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  pronouciation Well Rabbi Sirbradic arrivedd 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 Haftorah in 6 months, she pleaded to him not to leave us in the lurch.he ran out the door and  he never returned. I studied 5hours a night , my parents went back to the Kissina Jewish center to see if they can use their facities 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 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 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 your not suppose  to drive on Sabbath. The Cantor did ask us just that and we said what we planned, he then asked the quested as they arrived where hey 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 fersthering 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 no longer attend services but  I see  why there is so much assimilation and intermarriage  today . How sad  we only have blame the Jewish leaders of the past for they reap what they sowed/end
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