Thank you Neville,

Rabbis, family and friends.

Firstly I would like to give a very big thank you to Neville and Ros for being here and for Neville agreeing to be MC. I know it was not easy because of your work commitments in Queensland and both Sandra and I appreciate your coming very much. We got to know you both very well over the years at Lane Cove and I know Jeremy has always been very special for you.

Secondly I must thank the person without whose efforts tonight wouldn’t have been possible and that’s Sandra. Over the years you have had many roles to fill, that of wife, mother, secretary, teacher, office manager, entertainer and now that of Barmitzvah consultant. Your planning and organisation of tonight has been nothing short of military like in precision – from the early stages of finding a venue, caterer and band to the last minute things like finding the correct kosher lollies for Shule. Thanks for making it all possible.

Once again I welcome the interstate guests Ros and Neville and my cousins Max and Sarah from Melbourne. It is very unfortunate and Sandra’s brother and sister in law, Mark and Susie (who are in Switzerland) could not be here with us and also Sandra’s cousins, Wendy and Anthony Marks (in Melbourne) and I know they all very much wanted to be here.

On a sadder note I know tonight and yesterday is an event my late mother, Jeremy’s Nona Shula, would have loved to attend and would have been beaming with pride to see him sing in Shule – we know she is here with us in spirit. Also it is sad that my dad, Jeremy’s Nono Issy, is not well enough to be here and he too would have had much naches from seeing Jeremy. We saw him today at the Montefiore Home and in his own way he wished Jeremy all the best.

Jeremy is fortunate to have his great grandmother here – Nana Felka, who has been living for this day – and you may have heard her interruption to the Rabbi’s speech in Shule yesterday when the Rabbi said Jeremy is a good kid – she interrupted – no, he is the best!

I must also mention Nana late husband Max Gray, who was like a grandfather to Sandra, Mark and Linda for 33 years and loved Jeremy like a great grandfather for 6 years. Although he was allergic to Rabbis but not Rebbetzins, he had terrific zest for life and loved a good L’chaim, so we know he is opening his best bottle of red tonight and is drinking it with us.

But Jeremy is also fortunate to have his other grandparents, Poppy Michael and Nana Shirley here and they are extremely proud of his efforts yesterday. Jeremy had the added honour of having a grandfather who is a "kohen" and was called up first. Nana Shirley, whose father was a milliner, didn’t let us down in the hat department and even managed to get Sandra looking elegant in her reconditioned hat. And thanks to Nana Shirley, the kosher lollies rained down on Jeremy’s head. And now that you both know the way to Chabad from Double Bay (as you had 2 practice runs over the last few weeks) we might see you there more often.

I know that Shirley’s late parents, Nana Betty and Grandpa Harry Shagrin would also have been very proud of Jeremy. I still remember on the day Jeremy was born when Grandpa Harry rang me to say how excited he was to have a great grandson. I’m sure that as one of the founders of South Head Synagogue and a true mensch, he would have been very impressed with Jeremy’s love of yiddishkeit.

Well, Jeremy the big day has come and gone. I know you are not as nervous today as you were yesterday. You did a fantastic job yesterday.

I know it is customary on such occasions to give father/son advice but I will try to be brief. Both Sandra and I are very proud not only of how you did yesterday but of your very positive and enthusiastic attitude to your Jewishness. This is something we both consider of utmost importance and have always tried to pass on to you whether it is going to Shule on Friday night or Shabbos, going to Cheder, Gan Issy camps, Jewish music and humour. You have always participated become you have loved it. You have now reached a crucial stage where your involvement becomes your responsibility but continue to be involved because you loved it, because it is something positive, and because you want to do it. You have had wonderful teachers like Zalman who I’m sure will continue to be there and to guide you in the future. As Zalman said a few weeks ago, the one thing we are unsure of is the future and it is like being in a spaceship travelling to the unknown. You can still have time for the internet and games but don’t forget to read your guide book every day, as otherwise you may get lost on this voyage of life.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone for coming both yesterday and tonight and sharing this simcha with us.

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Copyright 1998 Jeremy Epstein. This site is a member of the JazaWeb Network.