Andrew's Bar Mitzvah was a smash !
Sue without overlooking the most minute detail, choreographed 98% of the festivities.
But it was Andrew, who stood alone as the champ. His study and dedication paid high dividends as he shined throughout the day like the true superstar that he is.
The large group who attended the service were treated to Andrew at his finest. In addition to his portion of the haftorah and torah, he was also entrusted by the rabbi, to lead the congregation throughout ceremony.
Both Sue and I were confident in his ability but as usual, his performance led us both to tears of joy, by far surpassing our greatest expectation.
His reception was held in the Tuscany Room at the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City. Everything went according to plan; the food was delicious and the hall was beautiful. Adding to the decor, Sue's girlfriend Emily handmade all the themed centerpieces.
The DJ and his cast of three motivators sent by the Jeffrey Craig Company, kept the joint jumpin' from the second the doors opened, till the very end.
In a short time we will see the results of the photos and video, and share them with you. The lovely, talented and congenial Robin Kupersmith did our still photography. The personable young woman who represented the Martin Company of Philadelphia handled the video imaging.
Special thanks to Tammy Roy, the Renault's event coordinator . During the affair, everything she was asked to do was done flawlessly. Beforehand, her enthusiastic interest in us and her professional input gave the impression that she was making our Bar Mitzvah for herself. Plus, seeing her and Sue iron-out the small details like sorority sisters, was inspiring.
But mostly it was the love and support our family and friends, and of course Andrew's friends, that made the party what it was...tremendous fun ! In all, we had 105 guests and the biggest highlight to me was that my mom overcame some health issues and made the trip to share in our joy. For those of you who spent some time with her, I give you my deepest thanks.
MY SPEECH TO ANDREW AT THE SYNAGOGUE
AAHHHH----A captive audience, an aspiring writer and his favorite subject...I promised Andrew I’d cut this short so...I’ll try to have you out of here in an hour and a half !
A few minutes ago a gentleman from the congregation overheard me rehearsing my opening. He pinched my cheek and informed me that it’s a tradition for the father of the Bar Mitzvah boy to open his speech with a joke. He then told me a funny one about two nuns walking into a lumberjack camp...but in recognition of Andrew’s serious approach to this sacred ceremony as well as his exceptional accomplishment in carrying it out, I have chosen to take a higher road.
To our blessed family and friends, thank you being a part of Andrew’s Bar Mitzvah. Although my father and both of Sue’s parents were unable to be here, I know Andrew had them kvelling from above. So on behalf of all of us, thank you Rabbi Geller and your wife Elaine as well, as the members of the congregation who took Andrew under their wing to make this such a beautiful, inspirational and memorable day.
Andrew, in congratulating you on this great moment in your life, I want to let you know—-THAT A DAY NEVER GOES BY THAT YOU DON'T HONOR ME...
I sometimes look at you and wonder how this all came to be. Was it luck, good parenting or divine intervention? It’s probably a combination of all three but the reality is, YOU somehow cherry-picked all your parent’s good traits while avoiding our shortcomings.
From your mother you selected; her honesty, sensitivity, humor, intelligence, generosity, cheerfulness, playfulness, gratitude, reliability, modesty, respect, patience and diplomacy. Additionally, from mom you got the rare skill to not only be a good speaker but a good listener as well. Actually, there are tons more of her positive traits you possess but in the interest of time...I must move on to what you took from me...PUNCTUALITY! ...oops, scratch that, because of me, we were late today.
There is a temptation to tell every story of the depth of your character but I’m afraid I’d get teary-eyed and my emotions would cloud the essence of my message. Because when I think of your great moments down through the years, I get tears of joy every time.
To prove my point even simpler things like; seeing your foot keeping time to your flute tugs at my heart strings—I feel that way because music is your greatest connection with my dad.
When I picture you pumping your fist after making a basket in the PAL league, I get a lump in my throat...because I admire the inner strength that put you on the court to begin with.
And the tears of joy really flow when I see the positive reaction you get from other people, like the ovation you got after you emceed your school’s talent show.
You touch people and have continued to do so since you were a baby and that is your greatest gift.
An aide at pre-school described you as: “A righteous little boy.” And she added, “I’ve never seen a three-year old with such a great sense of right and wrong.”
In scouts, you once tried to turn down the cherished trophy you earned. On the stage in front of about 60 spectators you announced, “I can not accept this trophy. My friends were disqualified for using the illegal car kit and so did I.”
Trust me; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house...and they let you keep the trophy.
In 4th grade you were selected into the “Peer Group Mediator Program.” You were trained to help settle disputes between kids when the administration failed. Some of the squabbles you resolved were petty but others reflected society’s most intense topics.
At the same time, you were also a “Big Buddy” in 5th and 6th grade. In that program you mentored younger students who for one reason or another had family problems or needed scholastic and/or emotional help. It wasn’t easy but in both cases...you were and still are a hero to them.
You have also developed such a fine reputation in our neighborhood--that strangers have been recruited you to be a baby-sitter. And you continue to do an excellent job.
I’ve said a lot of nice things about your past as well as your present. But a Bar Mitzvah isn’t the end of an era, it marks the beginning. So my closing message to you Andrew--and really to all the young people here--that life is an ever-lasting learning period. Avoid the easy way out.
To quote one of your favorite teachers Mrs. Goldberg “If you do exactly what you’re asked to do and no more, you get a C+ from me.”
You’ll find that it’s true in real life.
So, find what you’re good at and go for it. Test yourself, seek out new challenges and you’ll find that you don’t have to be perfect to succeed. But most of all—-be yourself.
I once again congratulate you. You succeeded here today with the same blend of humor and seriousness that make you a pleasure to be around every single day. That’s why it’s a privilege to tell people that, THIS IS MY SON.
Wait, wait, wait...I just thought of another great trait you got from me, Andrew is also tremendous fun on long trips! Thank you, thank you very much!
ANDREW'S POEMS DURING THE CANDLE LIGHTING
She fought a battle to come here today
She’s an amazing person what more can I say
Wise in her wisdom and hearty at heart
I’ve loved her forever right there from the start
I admire you so and I want you to please
Come up Grandma, light candle number three
A family of great people who love to laugh
A comfortable group where making fun is a craft
The Barons are aunts, uncles, and cousins, too
I am only unhappy that our times are so few
When I’m with you guys, my happiness soars
So come join me, you Baron’s, light candle number four
A loving family who has paid all their debts
With their wonderful teaching, as good as it gets
They’ve been all around the world and even Dubai
One’s expecting a baby possibly in July
You guys are amazing, you make me alive
Goldbergs, Barchichats light candle number five
All of you are such great cousins
As a group, I can never get more lovin’
At your parties, you’re always one to cater
Light candle number six all of you Rader’s
The “Canarsie Connection,” surely is the best
With classic friends like these, that shine above the rest
Whether they’re helping people in need
Or whether they’re selling them antiques
With true lifelong friends like Margie, Jeff, and Gloria
The lighting of candle seven will make us feel euphoria
They’ve contributed so much for this day
Without them, this shindig would not be the same
They both are the greatest, it is no lie
But man do I love your apple pie
You made this more than just a day to celebrate
Emily and Brian light candle number eight
They’ve supported me so much in their own way
That without their help, this would be just another day
Lorraine, Ruth, Bob, Carmen, and Jerry, friends of mine
That’s is why I’m honored to have you light candle number nine
Dad’s poker nights are great yet loud
His crazy friends in the card crowd
But the one thing that doesn’t pay
Is when some poor guy gets the five of spades
I’ve got an ace up my sleeve to welcome these men
Dad’s card pals light candle number ten
We’ve told all our secrets to one another
You guys are my brothers from another mother
People I hang with, people I love
I couldn’t wish for better than these in all of the stars above
We’ll be there for each other until the end
Light candle number eleven, my very best friends
Over the years, I’ve spread around
Growing my roots and guess what I found
Only the greatest people I know
Our friendship is only yet to grow
We help one another, a hand we do lend
Light candle twelve now, all of my friends
You’ve nurtured me since who knows when
I hold on to every single moment we spend
You know that I’ve loved you from the start
And you’ll always be there in my heart
Emotional swings are coming soon I’ll bet
I hope those hormones don’t come just yet
For the good times now and the good times to come
Light candle number thirteen my parents, Sue and Steve Edelblum