A Second Bar Mitzvah
On Shabbat morning, October 13th, friends and family gathered in the Ziman Synagogue on the Eisenberg Village campus of the Los Angeles Jewish Home as resident Howard Leeds stepped up on the bimah for his second bar mitzvah.
The ceremony most commonly takes place at age 83. According to Eisenberg Village Rabbi Ron Goldberg, the custom of a second bar mitzvah is based on the reading of Psalm 90:10, which says 70 years is the expected lifespan of most humans. When a person reaches age 83, it is a lifetime plus the bar mitzvah years of 13. "It is a recognition of a life well lived, a full life and a reason to celebrate reaching a milestone," Rabbi Goldberg added.
Wearing the tallis he first put on in 1948 at his first bar mitzvah, Howard led the Torah service, chanting the prayers with familiar melodies. "It all came flooding back as if it were yesterday," Howard remarked. Beaming with pride, he drew upon his training as a junior cantor at the Kingsbridge Heights Jewish Center in the Bronx to lead the service. Delighted to have the opportunity for a second bar mitzvah at the Jewish Home, he said, "It was much more meaningful than I can possibly express. I should have invited more people. It was a wonderful experience. Rabbi Ron was terrific and went out of his way to include my wife in the service. I'm so grateful to the Jewish Home for giving me the chance to have a second bar mitzvah."
Residents at the Jewish Home are offered the opportunity to actively engage in programs enhancing their knowledge of Judaism. Our rabbis teach classes for intellectual stimulation and spiritual growth. For some of our residents, this is the beginning of their adult Jewish learning. Many seniors were not able to have a bar or bat mitzvah when they were younger, but now have the time to explore Judaism more deeply.
Mazel tov to Howard!