“Marc Te Tird” comes from a Benny Hill sketch where he reads a poem that was typed on a typewriter on which the letter “H” was missing. Every year I think of that sketch, and Benny Hill, on this date.
How many of you used to watch Benny Hill’s show? Incredibly from my perspective, Benny Hill has been dead for almost 30 years. I don’t know if I would still find his show as entertaining as I did when I was younger, but I sure enjoyed it then. From Wikipedia a picture of Hill as Fred Scuttle, one of his characters:
The 2020 Geneva Auto Show, scheduled to begin today, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Swiss government has enacted a temporary ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people. Coronaviruses are actually common, but this particular strain is new and no vaccine or definitive treatment has been developed, yet.
I was bar-mitzvahed on this day in 1973. A bar-mitzvah is an initiation ceremony marking a boy’s 13th birthday and signifying the beginning of “adult” responsibility including religious responsibility. OK, now you know I was born in 1960.
It would have been an excellent day except for one detail: my parents were “separated” and did not sit at the same table during the reception. No one said anything to me directly, but I knew that was not normal by any means and felt anxiety.
The preparation for the bar-mitzvah did have one positive outcome. Whenever I was asked by anyone, including my parents, what I wanted for a present I said I wanted an organ. No, not a new brain, a keyboard instrument. My mother steadfastly refused as she said organs were Christian instruments as their presence in churches “proved.”
Most Jewish boys my age attended Hebrew school with religious instruction (in addition to public school) and that’s where they learned the section of the Torah they were supposed to read in the synagogue during the bar-mitzvah. I had stopped attending as I hated going to Hebrew school and, therefore, was absent the majority of days. As we did not have much money and Hebrew school was not free I talked my mother into letting me “drop out” permanently. When she asked me how I would learn my Torah section I told her I could take lessons from the cantor who lived in the neighborhood.
My mother accompanied me to my first lesson. We walked into the small, split-level house. The lessons would be in the cantor’s dining room up a half-flight from the entry and the living room. Lo and behold, when we walked up the five or six steps into the dining room a small organ was in the corner. I said, “Ma! Look! If the cantor has one, then I can have one.” So I did indeed receive an organ as my bar-mitzvah present. Of course, once I had the organ I hardly ever played it.
Dr. Zal’s bar-mitzvah was the Saturday before, February 24th, and unusually Dr. Hoss’s was the next day, Sunday the 4th. I don’t know if we didn’t have a photographer at my bar-mitzvah because we couldn’t afford it or it was on Saturday, but Dr. Hoss’s mom graciously asked her photographer to take pictures of me in bar-mitzvah garb. My mother and I were forever grateful for what Dr. Hoss’s mom did.
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