By Salomon Maya
The year: 1993.
The Synogogue: Beth Jacob.
The Party: Red Lion Hotel in Mission Valley (now a DoubleTree or as my friend Aaron reminds me every time we pass by it the place with the best chocolate chip cookies).
Do not adjust your TV screens faithful LCHAIM viewers (yes I know it’s a magazine…just please bear with me) this is not your normal editorial. The person writing this is Salomon, the man with the Random Rants section, and after hearing the topic was Bar-Mitzvahs I decided to hijack the normal Editors column and write my own on that fateful day when boys become men.
I was a pale, plump lad with a high-pitched nasal voice and chubby cheeks that were so fluffy people sometimes asked if I had just been stung by a bee. I am the youngest of three boys so I rode the caboose train when it came to having a Bar-mitzvah. And like most of my fellow youngest-in-the-family kids, I was a mommy’s boy. I knew my bar mitzvah had to be the best and my mommy dearest was going to make sure it was.
My oldest brother’s bar mitzvah was in 1984, and held in a golf course in Bonita, Calif., and I knew I could top that. I mean first of all, it was in the mid ’80s so it wasn’t going to be that hard. The DJ played endless jams from Wham and Prince. He also wore a bright blue sequined vest so automatically I had to subtract points just on fashion alone.
My middle brother’s bar mitzvah was in 1987 and held in Mission Valley. The location today is an all you can eat sushi buffet in the shape of a giant whale. His party was a little harder to beat, as my middle brother has always been the cool one. He was the one who was good in sports and had all the girlfriends. My parents used to make him take me along with his friends and I knew he hated it. I hated it too because all these schmuck kids would do was sit outside of the Pizza Hut off of Sweetwater Road and draw on each other’s K-Swiss sneakers. So his bar mitzvah was filled with the typical rigmarole, girls dressed up like Punky Brewster be-bopping to Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles…
Then it was my turn. 1993 seemed like an eternity away from K-Swiss’ and acid washed jeans. I had my entire ballroom decked out in huge movie posters (to remind you all, I was an actor at 10 years old, so the movie posters just went with my bar mitzvah theme). I looked pretty dang fly as well with my 3-button suit I just had tailored from Men’s Fashion Depot. I mean—ladies, watch out. Physically I looked like a more Jewish Manny from Modern Family, but I didn’t care, it was my bar mitzvah. It was my time to shine. It was my turn to beat my brothers!
I killed my bar mitzvah speech and made the entire room belly laugh from my mispronunciation of Spanish words. Everything was going perfect until my mother informed me of a surprise. I looked around astonished, awaiting my bar-mitzvah gift. Was it a new video game? A new bike? A new brother? What was it?
It was a singing telegram.
Yes! A man dressed up as a gorilla came to my bar mitzvah and sang to me. This was my surprise. This stupid gorilla even embarrassed me further when he attempted to place a pointy bar mitzvah hat on me and let go of the elastic that goes around your chin too soon and whipped me right in the eyes…right in the deepest part of my Jewish soul. That was my bar mitzvah. That was my path to manhood.