Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beverly Hills Bar Mitzvah

I worried for nothing. I should have known better. My cousin, and his late wife are down to earth people. He is a lawyer-partner in a major Los Angeles firm, but he never forgot his roots, and the projects he grew up in. The people he surrounds himself with have similar values and while I am sure I was surrounded by big Beverly Hills money, I came in contact with no Mrs. Drysdales.

I was worried that I would be out of my element. After all, Beverly Hills means Prada, and Gucci and lots of other expensive brands I browse at on Madison Ave and sometimes shop for on Canal St., I expected fancy cars and bling galore. I didn’t care if I stood out because I wanted to be at this Bar Mitzvah and my skin is thick enough to take the looks a poor relative from Queens might be given.

The Bar Mitzvah itself was fantastic. Temple Beth Am, in Beverly Hills is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever been in. The Bar Mitzvah boy out shined every other Bar Mitzvah I have ever seen, including my own son (sorry Son of Pissed Off). This remarkable young man ran the entire service, reading two Torah portions and a very long Haf Torah flawlessly. He wrote a touching, meaningful speech that explained the week’s Parsha and related it to today’s world.

I knew the day would be bitter sweet. When my cousin got up to speak, and started talking about his late wife, there was not a dry eye in the synagogue. How he had the strength to do this, I will never know. I have tears in my eyes again just thinking about his son’s tears as he became a man without his mom in the room.

The service was followed by a very nice lunch, excellent food, classy and also down to earth. There were no revolving centerpieces or gourmet plates with nothing to eat.

The celebration continued in the evening with something I have never seen before—a party totally for kids. It took place in a beach house on the beach at Santa Monica. There was a DJ and food kids loved and a separate room for adults. The evening was perfect and we spent quite a bit of time outdoors. I hate being in photographs but when I watched the montage and saw all of his mom’s pictures, I vowed to try to let people take more of me. I realized she was there in spirit, although not in body. Again, there was not a dry eye in the room.

I realized that no one would have missed me if I didn’t show up. I love my cousin but we haven’t been close for years. His three sons are wonderful, but this is only the third time we have ever met. Yet, I felt my presence there touched them as much as it touched me. I’m sitting on the plane, writing this in Word as this flight has no Internet. I’m exhausted and I’ve just missed several days of work, something I never do but I am glad I did it and will gladly do it again should the opportunity present itself.


Tamara said...

Hey! Beth Am is my shul. It's totally NOT in Beverly Hills (well, it's close I know). It's usually considered to be in the Pico/Robertson area, which I call the Jewborhood. It's got a down to earth congregation, strong community, and welcoming atmosphere. We have folks on all spectrums.

I love it there, even if I don't go often enough! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

Pissed Off said...

Sorry, I was sure we were in Beverly Hills.