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Story Archives


Mickey Rapkin

By Mickey Rapkin

It was 1990 and like most kids in their Bar Mitzvah year, I was more interested in planning My Super Sweet 13 than practicing my Haftorah. I imagined sequined dancers and a ten-piece band. I obsessed over the mix of food stations. My parents supplied giant foam fingers like you’d get at a Knicks game. When I look back at the photos I wonder: Why did I ever want such an elaborate celebration of puberty? I guess because I was 13 and overweight and imperfect and I wanted to feel the love. If I could do it all over again, I can’t say I’d skip the party. But I wish I’d have joined my dad during the hora, as he raised one hand in the air and did Arsenio Hall’s signature whoop whoop whoop. I wish I’d have practiced the silly poems he wrote for the candle lighting ceremony instead of reading them cold, wondering what the word mishpucha meant. I would have talked to my mishpucha (it means family!) instead of hanging out in the bathroom. Years later I learned what all real men know: That this pain? This too shall pass. I would have told myself, “You won’t always feel so small.”


What advice would you give your younger self?

Would your younger self listen?


Mickey Rapkin is a journalist and author whose books include “Pitch Perfect” and “Theatre Geek.”