Shlo-moFriday morning, I logged on to Yahoo Messenger and instantly got a webcam invite from Beach Hillel’s famous Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, one of the masterminds behind the Jewlicious @ the Beach conference. Not that I randomly accept webcam invites from strangers, but this was no stranger….

Within seconds of accepting the invitation, I found myself magically transported inside the Bookstein’s Long Beach home, sitting around the table as we awaited the beginning of three-year-old Shlomo Bookstein’s upshirin. After a few pans around the room, Rabbi Yo abandoned control of the webcam and steadicammed in on the action.

There went the first lock of hair, which hadn’t been cut during the first three years of Shlomo’s life. Rabbi Yo and Rachel took turns cutting and brandishing the locks of hair in front of both the family and the webcam…

Danielle and Rafi were there too, to celebrate with the family—Rachel’s parents, and Rabbi Yo’s mom (does that make her the “Yo Mamma”?), who, her son reports was reluctant to cut Shlomo’s hair, since her own son (by his own admission) looked like a hippie until he was 11. There was breakfast, and orange juice, and something undefined but l’chayim-worthy in a glass.

I’d never been to an upshirin before, and never expected that the first one I ever attended wouldn’t even require me to leave my apartment. But technology made it possible.

Which got me thinking…technology made it all possible…from finding Jewlicious to organizing that first meeting on the Upper West Side, from coordinating the Jewlicious conference to subsequent Jewlicious gatherings at California wineries and Lower East Side bars.

But I know what you’re all thinking: what style of haircut will the Booksteins select for their newly shorn son? The Dorothy Hamill? The Jew mullet? The “Rachel”? Time will tell as the youngster’s personal style emerges. And I am certain that technology will bring us pictures, bimhayra b’yamainu (speedily in our days). Amen. And mazal tov!

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Esther Kustanowitz

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  • Mazel Tov!

    Esther, I would give you some specifics on what else you can do with tha technology but you seem to be resisting all my well-intentioned attempts to get you take a walk on the wild side!

  • C, I know. I know. You think I should start a blog. Well, that’s worth looking into. I’m not saying I walk exactly in your footsteps, but let’s say that wild sides are relative.

  • Mazal Tov Rabbi Yonah! I wish I was there.
    But shabbes in Warsaw falls is too early even for the webcast.
    I m looking forward to re-runs!

    It s worthy to mention that Rabbi Yonah is a living proof the orthodox rabbis are not stuck in the medival ages – live webcasts, podcasting, wifi etc.
    Mazal Tov again!

  • Jew-fro, yes. Jew- mullet, never! I hope that my sons (Moshe and Shlomo) inevitable hair rebellion will never take the form of that dreaded style… Anything that is “business in the front, party in the back” cannot be good for the Jews.
    But in all seriousness, Shlomo’s third birthday is a momentous occasion for our whole family… and it is a beautiful thing to share it with family and friends all over the world. Oh, ybocher, no worries cuz’ we have about 45 minutes of the action for you to see when you come back home! More pictures on

  • Ok, I saw the word upshirin and i got all excited because I almost thought it was Ushpizin, the new Israeli movie I just saw and am desperately eager to talk about. But those of us outside the cabal of the official bloggers can’t start a thread right? Or as a newbie am I missing something. Anyway, Ushpizin. See it. Very very well done and wonderful backstory regarding the star and scriptwriter Shuli Rand.

  • Mazel tov, Rabbi Yonah and Rachel! So when can we see pictures of the “new Shlomo,” with kippa and tzitzit?

    And don’t worry Rachel… I think your children are smart enough to just say “no!” to the mullet. Ari and I are looking very forward to seeing you all this week!

  • Well, Biz, let me tell ya… if you think Rabbi Yonah was awesome on Yom Kippur, that’s nothing compared to how awesome he is on Shabbat. But since it’s the entire family, it’s five times the awesomeness. Six plus Rafi. Trust me.

  • Reb Yonah is the man. Muffti vouches for the man hardcore. He’s even nice to the atheist(s)!