Sunday, September 10, 2006
The Upsherin Revue:

I went to bed Thursday night at 3 in the morning. Friday morning came and I was a zombie. Chaya still had a fever. Yaakov went to shul and I had to round everything and everybody up. Thank G-d mom arrived an hour early, she was a big help with Zalman.

It was raining. A total balegan getting kids into carseats. Please G-d, don't let too much rain get on my sheitl - I just had it washed. We managed to get to shul in more or less one piece, and the rain had tapered off. Chaya's fever was under tylenol's cherry thumb. Yaakov arranged the beautiful food. Egg salad, tuna salad, fruits, cake, bagels, dips...nice and
breakfast-y. Things were looking up.

It wasn't such a big crowd. People were going to work, ladies were home making shabbos. But it was sweet and intimate, and everybody thought it was just lovely. Srulik stood very nicely on his chair while people came and took snips. Then we came home and I prepared for the areinfirnish while Yaakov buzzed the rest of Srulik's hair. (He did it on 6 and it came out perfect!)

Now on to the interesting food prep: There is a custom to make a honey cake and also a hard boiled egg. Both are inscribed with Torah passages and are meant to be eaten by the birthday boy at the areinfirnish. The egg was easy - I used a ball point pen. The honey cake, however, was a total nightmare. I had tried engraving the words onto a store-bought honey cake, but that was a bust. The passage was too long and the cake was too short. Plus, the engraving wasn't visible in the moist surface. So I decided to bake my own 9x13 cake. Let me just preface: in 8 years of marriage, I have never once made a honey cake to my satisfaction. It's either too wet or too dry, and in this case; it flopped. The sides baked nicely, but the center was mush. I asked a friend - a veteran upsherinish maker - how she solved the cake conundrum. "Easy!" she said. "Buy a couple of honey cakes and put icing on top, and engrave through the icing." This, dear readers, saved the day.

Then to the areinfirnish! Srulik was wrapped in his father's tallis as we went to meet Rabbi R, the sweetest yeshiva rebbe ever. He and Srulik said aleph beis together and the 12 pesukim, and the kids in class ate up all the honey cake.

What a great day - I'll never bake a honey cake again.


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