A Double Mitzvah

If one follows the traditional Jewish philosophy that a lifetime is 70 years, Dr. Hy Goldman was symbolically reborn on April 22, 2000. It’s a philosophy Goldman likes, and thus followed to the next logical conclusion — that he should reaffirm his commitment to Judaism with a second bar mitzvah at the age of 83 (age 70 plus 13). That his grandson, Jason, decided to join him by becoming a bar mitzvah for the first time, at age 21, only added to the uniqueness of the occasion.

On Friday, April 25, 2003, Hy and Jason Goldman were called to the Torah as b’nai mitzvah at Temple Beth Am in San Pedro.

On a day that could have been an opportunity to honor the life achievements of Hy Goldman, himself, the elder Goldman dedicated his moment on the bimah to five deceased friends and colleagues. Dr. Goldman, Sam Kaminker, Syd Greenberg, Harold Brenner, Max Raush and Morrie Schwartz worked together at the Bureau of Jewish Education for many years, developing curricula and programs like Havurat Noar and conducting teacher seminars and camp conclave programs.

"Having done it, it marked the completion," he said. "It feels good because these were men who had really put in a lot of work. I felt that something was due to them, and since I am their survivor, I needed to be the one to say that it was worth something."

For his grandson, Jason, the experience was a long time coming. While Jason had wanted to have a bar mitzvah when he was 13, he’d had a difficult time in Hebrew school and wasn’t able to keep up with his studies at the time.

This time, Jason managed to learn his part with the help of his fiancée, Rebeccah Goldware, he said.

"She was the one who taught me how to read, how to do the prayers for everything. She was my teacher for this," Jason said.

The family celebrated with dinner before, and an oneg following the Friday night service.

Jason Goldman and Rebeccah Goldware will be married on August 24, 2003, adding another simcha for the Goldmans this year.