FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 • BUZZ • THE QUEENS COURIER 77
The day of the bar mitzvah
of my grandson Blake
fi nally arrived, and a sense
of history was all around us,
making the ceremony at the
Western Wall in Jerusalem a
powerful and moving one.
We had begun the day exploring
the City of David, where it
all began. King David conquered
the city over 3,000 years ago and
made Jerusalem the eternal capital
of the Jewish people.
Th e service for Blake was at
Robinson’s Arch adjacent to the
Western Wall, the holiest site in
We all gathered at the steps
where the ceremony was to be
held, and we were met by musicians
who followed Blake, who
walked under the chuppah (canopy),
a square made of fabric
held up by 4 poles which each of
my grandchildren carried.
It was as celebratory as it
was emotional to see him
entering the adult world
as a Jew.
Judaism created a
adjacent to the
wall which allows
men and women
to stand together.
We were blessed
to have Cantor
Evan Kent, originally
from Islip, who
moved to Israel as the
rabbi leading the service.
We were each given prayers
to read as the Torah was opened
and Blake recited his passage
of the Torah, guided by a silver
pointer touching the Torah
made of parchment.
Torahs are written by holy
men with a quill and feather
pen; each scroll takes years to
My daughter Samantha, her
husband Spencer, my other children,
their children and in-laws
helped create a memory of a lifetime
as the setting sun gave the
Western Wall a golden glow.
Our group of 15 people then
walked down to the Kotel, as the
Western Wall area is called. Th e
impressive wall is about as tall as
a two-story building.
Here the men and women are
separated by a fence, and the tradition
is to pray in the crowded
courtyard, and then to place tiny
pieces of paper in the crevices
with a message of prayer.
All I can ever ask for is good
health for myself, my loved ones
and friends, and I wrote that
message on the notes I made.
I pushed them into the wall,
between the many thousands of
other wishes left at the Wall. It
was a powerful moment.
We met the men as I reluctantly
walked away from the Wall.
Each of us felt it hard to leave the
sacred place. I wished time could
have stood still.
Dinner was a celebratory
one at an outdoor restaurant,
Piccolono, that had a bandstand
and musicians to entertain as we
ate a true Israeli dinner: 15 appetizers
followed by multiple main
courses and then outrageously
Th e area around the restaurant
had hundreds of colorful
open umbrellas as a roof. I was
told the Frenchman who owns
the property wanted to create a
fashion statement in the sky, and
he surely created a magical environment
A fi tting end to a fabulously
memorable day and night. More
to come next week!
tweet me @vschneps
Years of plans comes to fruition
Preparing the Torah
for Blake’s readings.
Blake enters the sacred place under a chuppah
held by his sister and younger family.
My six grandchildren posing after the service.
Josh and Tracey with
The bar mitzvah boy with
his parents and sister
Susan Sohmer with
Samantha and Morgan
The cantor joined the family after the service