Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mitzvah on Main Street

Well, if you can find the Messiah on Main Street, you can surely find a mitzvah there, too. And we did! On December 31st, New Year's Eve, we celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of my granddaughter, Lily Pearl Johnson, at Luna Stage on Valley Road, my own neighborhood Main Street. It was a touching and wonderful ceremony, followed by a big party, also in honor of her 16th birthday. It was delightful to see all the teens show up in their New Year's glam outfits.

As events go, it was a smash! But what made it great was the generosity of our neighborhood. Luna Stage was very generous in sharing their beautiful space with us. And no party can be great without great food! Our event was catered by Vinnie Mazzarisi, who's the owner/chef of Mazzi Dogz, the hot dog place right next door. Mazzi Dogz was the best decorated place on Valley Road, giving the whole area a shot of Christmas spirit. Vinnie even put a tree on the roof of the building. Its lights could be seen for blocks. But first and foremost, Vinnie is an outstanding chef. We had roast beef, chicken francaise, salmon, baked zitti and salad. Wonderful! We also had a midnight supper for the teens with hot dogs and sliders.

For the cake, we went just a little ways over to Main Street in West Orange, to Supreme Bakery. Wow! What a cake! Lil choose red velvet, and they recommended the icing and the filling -- it was so good. I highly recommend you just rush over and get one for yourself.

That's not all, of course. Rabbi Fred Dworkin and his wife Cheryl, who live over on South Orange Avenue -- Main Street, South Orange, that is -- prepared Lily for the ceremony and led the beautiful service.

Many friends and family members showed up to help us set up and then clean up. India Kaufman, my son Ken's wife, did a wonderful job decorating -- she has a genius for that.

Herb Way, my Orange High School classmate, did the photography for the event, capturing everyone at their best. He's a great photographer and pays close attention to get every moment.

A mitzvah is a good deed. And, in helping us celebrate Lily's Bat Mitzvah, many of our friends and neighbors pitched in. It takes a village to put on a celebration, and we are so grateful to be part of a village.

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