Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Celebration With a Twist

The Bar Mitzvah of Abq Jew: Just last week, Abq Jew received a wonderful, out-of-the-blue Facebook Friend invitation from a John F - whose name Abq Jew sort of recognized from a previous lifetime, a long, long time ago.

Could it be? Yes, it could!

35 Gibson Blvd

In April 2019 (see Passover: The Last Days), Abq Jew wrote about his old home town - Valley Stream, Long Island, New York.
Abq Jew and his parents, of blessed memory, lived on the bottom floor of 35 Gibson Blvd, Valley Stream, from 1956 through 1962. Abq Jew's grandparents, also of blessed memory, lived on the top floor.

A joint purchase, Abq Jew surmises. Maybe ... $10,000 each? Less (GI Bill)? Today worth $560,204, Zillow says.

Six years of blessed memories. Within easy walking distance of Brooklyn Avenue school, Sunrise Jewish Center, Gibson station, the candy store, and everyplace Abq Jew needed to go.

A thousand kids on the block. We played in the street. The LIRR tracks were behind the houses across the street. You got used to it.

John F, his sister Debbie, and his cousin Fran are the kids who lived next door. Their parents (Mary and John, and Angie and Lou) and Abq Jew's parents were the absolute best of friends during our six years there - 1956 through 1962. 

The 'kids' were as happy to find me as Abq Jew was to hear from them. 

As it turns out - Debbie and Fran (John was too young) remember going to Abq Jew's 1963 Bar Mitzvah celebration at Town & Country Village(?) night club, where the featured entertainer was Ernest Evans. Better known as

Chubby Checker
Chubby Checker
Someplace, Abq Jew has photos.

For those of you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, who are too young or too old to recall, Wikipedia tells us:

Chubby Checker (born Ernest Evans; October 3, 1941) is an American rock and roll singer and dancer. He is widely known for popularizing many dance styles, including the Twist dance style, with his 1960 hit cover of Hank Ballard & The Midnighters' R&B song "The Twist", and the Pony dance style with the 1961 cover of the song "Pony Time". 

Checker introduced his version of "The Twist" at the age of 18 in July 1960 in Wildwood, New Jersey at the Rainbow Club. "The Twist" went on to top the Billboard Hot 100 not just once in 1960, but yet again in a separate chart run in late 1961. 

The first success was attributed to teens, and the unprecedented second number-one Billboard ranking was driven by older audiences following a spirited live performance of the song by Checker on The Ed Sullivan Show, seen by over 10 million viewers.

So about now, you're probably asking -

What About

What about the Bar Mitzvah ceremony? You know - the reason we all gathered 'round Chubby Checker to celebrate? Wasn't there a religious aspect to the day?

Well yes, there was a religious aspect. 

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh

Abq Jew's carefully-selected Bar Mitzvah date (more than eight weeks before he turned 13) turned out to be Shabbat Korach of the year 5723, which also turned out to be Rosh Chodesh Tammuz of that year.

Since that day, we Jews have been blessed to read Parshat Korach - The Great Rebellion - 59 times. The 60th time will be, G-d willing, this coming Shabbat June 17 in the Land of Israel, and next Shabbat June 24 here in the Diaspora.


And how many times, Abq Jew hears you ask,
has the Haftarah for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
been read since that 5723 day? 

Wherein lies a story.

God Loves Stories

To be continued ....