Southold man’s ‘second lifetime,’ second bar mitzvah

05/20/2012 1:00 PM |


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

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

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

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

“He did a 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 afterward, before a luncheon the building’s community room. “It’s a very happy occasion to be with my family on this day.”

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