Sitting in her highchair, circled by a sea of family, Ruby toyed with her first birthday cake. Mammoth — layers tall, to be sure — it was coated with topping thick as the love surrounding. From Boca, Chappaqua, Chicago and Cleveland we’d come, and abetted by the Bohrer household, we were singing “Happy Birthday” to the broadest smile this side of the Rockies. (Not that she noticed. Her hands, busy spreading frosting through her hair, were playing a symphony).

You never know when you’ll pass that way again, really. When will it be, what with the dictates of work, family, and calendar, that the Seders will again fall on a weekend? When, in sync we’ll pass matzah? When – for that matter — we’ll convene in naming a newborn?

Maybe soon. More likely not. This was special.

Lucy played with Max and Eli: the splendor of cousins.

“Do you think Max and Lucy look alike?” I asked.
“Not really,” said Meredith, “But what about Eli and Ruby?”

(Ed. Note 1: Lodged at a nearby hotel, we were able to breakfast with Michael’s crew daily. The boys bounced in fun, but for me it was a learning experience. Little did I know, for example, that the eggs for the masses were in genesis, “powdered”. “They’re not real eggs,” my son informed me). (Ed. Note 2: You can’t imagine how his eyes rolled when I noted that Kramer had real food when he served all those people at Frank Costanza’s Knights Of Columbus hall).

In the morning there was temple. Layout of the chapel was like Uncle Ernie’s old shul. From an island in the center the Cantor exclaimed:
“Y’amode Shishi”— and with wife and daughter behind him, Jason Bohrer rose at the bima to take his aliyah — as so predictably tears graced my cheeks.

(Ed. Note 3: Not that there wasn’t levity. When services ended the luncheon ensued. Entering the adjacent hall, my favorite son deftly took the sign on the first table in…the one that said “Reserved For Bohrer Family”… and moved it to another table. Based on the kids and the traffic flow it made some sense; and no one would know; and it really didn’t matter. But Yes, I was proud).

There was Seder that night— 28 of us total. Lucy said “The Four Questions”, (or at least Question 1). Good enough for me, I’d figured. She was now on the board.

Why was this night different from all other nights? (My eyes wet once again).

Because on this night we ate matzah, not bread. And on this night we remembered our past. And on this night, I had family beside me. Four of six grandkids there were…and two of three children … and the wife I adore.

In the most perfect of imperfect worlds, this was as good as it would be.

At least now.

A cup for Elijah sat still on the table, yet the door stayed open.   (Not just for the prophet, I knew,  but for the rest of my family).

Perhaps next year in Jerusalem.

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