By Chanita Teitz
The party’s over. Our dear grandson Mordechai had his bar mitzvah this past Shabbos, surrounded by family and friends. Everything was extraordinarily beautiful, including the weather. The meals and the kiddush were sumptuous and deliciously prepared and presented by Brach’s of Queens. The flowers from Lilac were vibrant and beautiful, and Mark Mittel took pictures Friday afternoon and again after Shabbos. We are very fortunate in Kew Gardens Hills to have so many local creative professionals. Anything you need for a simcha is right here in our own backyard! Support our local businesses!
Our children Deedee and David attended to every detail in the planning of this special Shabbos, but I want to acknowledge Deedee’s good friends Esther Rosenkranz, Yellie Koenig, and Rachelli Weiss for being her right hands and going the extra mile for her. It was also so nice to see some of Deedee’s girlhood friends who have kept in touch and came to the simcha.
The davening, beginning Friday night with Ari Hoch’s Carlebach davening, Ophie Nat’s Shacharis, the “choir” and my husband’s Mussaf, was beautiful and meaningful. Mordechai leined beautifully and the credit goes to his teacher, Mordechai Hirsch. Yasher koach!
Rabbi Oelbaum spoke eloquently and there were other speakers throughout the Shabbos giving divrei Torah and divrei berachah to Mordechai. So, I was thinking, what do I want to say to Mordechai as his Bubbie? What special message and advice do I want to give him? What do I think are the things he should take with him as memories and as lessons from his bar mitzvah?
Mordechai, the food is finished, the flowers will wilt, and the glitz and glamour and your being the center of attention will fade. What should you remember and what are the lasting impressions you should have from this exciting and special Shabbos?
I’ve narrowed things down to three important components that you should think about: family, responsibility, and building your own personal connection and relationship with Hashem.
Family first. Know where you come from. Do you realize, Mordechai, how lucky you were to have two great-grandparents at your simcha? Bubbie Teitz came to your bar mitzvah. Your mother does so much for Bubbie and your father stops at Bubbie’s house every Friday night on the way home from shul with you and your brothers to wish Bubbie a good Shabbos and of course to pick up some of Bubbie’s especially delicious chocolate cake.
On your father’s side you had your Sabba, Mr. Lock, who I know loves to spend Shabbosos at your house and I know how much your parents and all of you enjoy having him. What a z’chus! In my generation, so many kids were children of Holocaust survivors and not only didn’t they have great-grandparents, they didn’t even have grandparents.
Now that you are getting older, spend time with your great-grandparents and ask them about their lives. They have so much that they can teach you. Your Sabbie and Savtie, our mechutanim, Abe and Dina Weiss, also love spending time with you and Zaidie and I look forward to building a new, more grown-up kesher with you.
Mordechai, do you appreciate how special it was to celebrate your bar mitzvah seudos in our shul, the shul that Zaidie built for his father? Just like people laughed at Noach while he was building the Teivah, people laughed at Zaidie, never imagining that he could actually build a shul single-handedly. But Zaidie was never discouraged and solved every problem that came up. The other rabbanim in the community welcomed Zaidie Teitz into the neighborhood with the greatest honor and respect. It is such a z’chus for our family to have this wonderful yerushah—and I’m not talking about the real estate, the physical building. I am talking about the spiritual yerushah and z’chus of having our own Mikdash Me’at. You should feel proud whenever you come there.
Responsibility means that now it is up to you to be on time for minyan and to take the other mitzvos seriously. Don’t be a typical teenager who happens to be Jewish and frum. Instead, be a frum Jew first, who happens to be a teen. Your Yiddishkeit should be foremost in your life, and that brings us to building your own special relationship with Hashem through tefillah and observance of mitzvos. The best way for your tefillos to be pleasant and not burdensome is to know what you are saying. Pick a tefillah every week to study. Read the English translation if you have to so you understand the words. If you like, I’ll learn with you; we can be chavrusos. When you understand what you are saying, the words will speak to you personally and you will come closer to loving and serving Hashem b’simcha.
Chazak, chazak, v’nischazek. Zaidie and I are here for you every day to help you continue to grow in your ruchinyus. We love you. Mazal tov!
Of Queens News
Parashas Noach came to life when Morah Dana introduced the Pre‑1A children to her pet doves. The girls watched in fascination as Morah Dana took the birds out of their cage and held them and stroked them. They learned a great deal about doves, and were especially fascinated with the way the parent doves care for their young. Equally captivating was Morah Dana’s description of how she feeds them on Pesach when their regular food is chametz. The children peppered Morah Dana with questions and listened intently to the answers. This experience was a wonderful example of the real-life, hands-on learning that the children will remember for a long time.
Cinema Utopia, at the Utopia Jewish Center has their new film schedule available as follows: starting November 3 with “Dolphin Boy”; December 1, “Foreign Letters”; December 22, “Brothers”; January 19, “Circumcise Me,” “California Schmeer,” and “A Reuben By Any Other Name”; and March 9, “David and Kumar.”
A community-wide blood drive is set for Sunday, November 4 at the Young Israel of New Hyde Park, 264-15 77th Avenue between 9 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The drive is sponsored by six Eastern Queens and Nassau County synagogues: Bellerose Jewish Center, Marathon Jewish Center, Utopia Jewish Center, the Young Israel of New Hyde Park, the Young Israel of Hollis Hills/Windsor Park in Queens, and the Lake Success Jewish Center in Nassau County.
“There is a dangerous shortage of blood in the New York City area,” said Joseph M. Varon, the blood-drive coordinator. “This is becoming a national problem. There is no substitute for blood, and people in need depend on community donors.” People between 16 and 76 years of age, in good health and who weigh at least 110 pounds may donate. Donors must bring identification that shows their signature and/or photo. People under 17 years of age must have written parental permission to donate. Donors will be served brunch, and free babysitting is available. Although reservations are not necessary, if you wish to reserve a specific time appointment, please call Joseph Varon in the evening at 718- 552-6449.
Spread the Word! Sunday Night, November 4, Chazaq presents renowned lecturer R’ Zecharia Wallerstein in Queens! Refreshments will be served at 8:00 p.m.; the lecture is scheduled for 8:30. Men and women are welcome, and admission is free! Location: Beth Gavriel Community Center, 66-35 108th Street, Forest Hills NY 11375. For more information call or text 917-617-3636, or e‑mail Info@Chazaq.org.
Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills presents a free lecture series for the entire community on “Navigating the Medical System.” Lectures will take place on the following dates: November 7, December 11, January 8, February 12, March 12, April 9, May 7, and June 11. Lecturers are experts in their various fields. Current sponsors include Councilman James Gennaro, New York City Council; New York Hospital Queens; and Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. For more information, please call 718-268-5256.
Shabbos Mevorchim classes sponsored by the Women’s League of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills are as follows: For Kislev, Parshas Chayei Sarah, November 10; Teves, Vayeishev, December 8; Shevat, Shmos, January 9; Adar, Mishpatim, February 9; Nisan, Vayakhel/Pekudie, March 9; Iyar, Shemini, April 6; Sivan, Behar-Bechukosai, May 4; Tamuz, Sh’lach, June 1. All classes are held in the Beis Medrash of the YIKGH, 70th Avenue and 150th St. Call Esther Koppel for more information, 917-359-8411 or e-mail email@example.com. v
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.