Thank you to my mom, Judy Meltzer, for this glimpse of her life as bubbe par excellence

There are many times when I find myself rejoicing at my good fortune – that I am Jewish and can enjoy the great richness and perks of this wonderful religious culture.

This is one of those times. Tomorrow morning I will participate in a Siyyum Ha’Sefer program, when my grandaughter, Ella, will receive her siddur at the Schechter School in Northampton, Massachusetts, where my daughter (her mother) is a teacher. Typically, parents present the siddur to their child. At that moving moment, they express their deeply felt hopes and dreams for their offspring, and that message is affixed to the frontispiece of the siddur. My children have generously offered me that role, so I will speak to Ella. This is what it means to be Jewish.


But there’s another side to this very Jewish celebration. Food, of course. Bagels, positively! Northampton has beautiful scenery, artists, writers, outstanding schools, and a terrific Conservative synagogue, but bagels? Not so much. Today I bought 39 (baker’s dozen) bagels to take with me on the plane. When I picked up the order, I was totally taken aback. They were huge bags, and very heavy. In the parking lot, Doris and I opened my suitcase and began shifting aside the unimportant items, such as clothing, to make room for the circular delicacies. We pushed and we shoved, we lifted and pressed, and we finally managed to accommodate all 39 plain, sesame, poppy and everything bagels without crushing them.

This, too, is what it means to be Jewish.

Ella, Zoe and I are on our way to the airport to pick up Bubbe and three dozen bagels.

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