Bar mitzvah number two for Southold octogenarian

05/05/2012 3:16 PM |

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | The Eilenberg family, from left: Mara, Sofia, Mark, Ruth, Howard, Helene and Matthew.

Southold resident Howard Eilenberg spent his 83rd birthday in style on Saturday, May 5, celebrating his second bar mitzvah at the North Fork Reform Synagogue in Cutchogue.

“Howard is 83 going on 13,” said the congregation’s student rabbi, Bethie Miller.

Because the Torah gives the normal human lifespan as 70 years, 83-year-olds are sometimes considered age 13 in a second lifetime.

Mr. Eilenberg read from the Torah during Saturday’s gathering, as is customary at one’s bar mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage through which boys become men in the eyes of his congregation.

“He did great reading from the Torah and each of us was glad that he was up there and not us,” said his wife, Ruth.

“It’s an honor to have done it and a great relief to have completed it,” Mr. Eilenberg said after the ceremony, after which the celebrants had a luncheon n the building’s basement. “It’s a very happy occasion to be with my family on this day,” he added.

Their daughter Mara Wilson, son Matthew Eilenberg, son-in-law Mark Wilson, daughter-in-law Helene Santo and granddaughter Sofia Wilson joined the Eilenbergs at the event.

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Howard Eilenberg at North Fork Reform Synagogue on Saturday.