‘Adon Olam’ Caper Takes the Cake


Jeff and Wally now, still friends 60 years later
Jeff and Wally now, nonetheless pals 60 years later

Dr. Jeff London seems again at his childhood and his buddy, Wally.

Well, if this occurred, I do know when it occurred. I used to be in that center time-frame between childhood and teenagers, after my bar mitzvah, earlier than I realized to drive a automobile and was able to search for a part-time job. I used to be each father or mother’s nightmare … an adolescent with time on his arms. And to up the ante, I had a finest buddy to assist me concoct fascinating issues to do to fill that point. 

I met Wally someday after the tip of sixth grade, when my household had moved from Pinehurst to Roselawn, from the neighborhood close to MacDowell to 1 close to Bagley Elementary. Although we had met earlier, we solidified our friendship in French class with a trainer Wally dubbed Miss McFoggy. 

Dr. Jeff London
Dr. Jeff London

I beloved Wally’s artistic humorousness, how he coined nicknames for everybody, together with me. He typically referred to as me Lindy Lundy in these days. And we simply clicked. Although we might go on to expertise highschool, faculty and past as pals, this was a time after we have been inseparable, joined on the hip. We made up our personal shared language. “Dion” (as in Dion DiMucci, our favourite singer) was our phrase for something cool. We beloved to make up loopy video games, like Buddy Bomar basement bowling, after we slept over at one another’s homes (one block aside on Roselawn and Greenlawn, each on the nook of Pickford). And we each had July birthdays and Wally’s household had beforehand additionally lived in a home on Pinehurst, a number of years earlier than. So in fact, we have been constitution members of the “July Pinehurst Membership.” Our greatest friendship was clearly “beshert” (despite the fact that I had by no means heard of that phrase on the time!).

I’ll spare you the main points of most of our plans, however I vividly recall the summer season after we would each flip 14. We have been on the top of our collective imaginations. When you’ve a finest buddy at that age, you suppose something you may dream up collectively is feasible, despite the fact that an underdeveloped a part of your mind senses it will not be the perfect concept. So, not surprisingly, we collectively developed what I now name the Nice Adon Olam Caper. 

We had not recognized one another on the time of our respective bar mitzvahs. I had attended Shaarey Zedek Hebrew College whereas Wally went to the Chaim Greenberg Hebrew-Yiddish College, situated within the Morris Schaver Auditorium. (Actually, that’s what he referred to as it each time he talked about it!) We had each had attended many Shabbat companies close by, largely on the bar mitzvahs of our respective pals. 

We each had opted to stop our formal Jewish schooling post-bar mitzvah, though my choice concerned a cope with my mother to proceed my piano classes (which I saved just for the requisite six months). So, we have been each fairly aware of the sample of Saturday morning companies at close by synagogues. 

You may surprise why two 14-year-old boys have been discussing non secular companies at the moment. We weren’t eager for non secular awakening nor lacking the davening and chanting from our pre-bar mitzvah days. Our wants have been far more fundamental than that. We missed the seven-layer cake served on the kiddush after companies. And so, we started to think about discovering a approach to have our cake and eat it too, which did not contain us sitting by way of a protracted non secular service. 

Clearly, the thought of going to a synagogue for a Saturday morning service, after which we might be eligible to eat a slice of seven-layer cake was a lot too easy a plan for the Dynamic Duo! 

We started to ponder varied choices. We may play playing cards, one in every of our favourite previous instances, and have the loser go to companies and sneak some cake out for the winner. Nah! We had to do that collectively to make it worthy of our partnership. We may go to Zeman’s and buy a sliver of our favourite cake with our allowance cash. Nah, that was no enjoyable in any respect! 

Step by step, over the following few weeks, we fleshed out a plan worthy of our partnership (with a dose of Mission Not possible): We might prepare a Friday night time sleepover at Wally’s. I might sneak my bar mitzvah swimsuit into my in a single day bag. We’d sleep within the subsequent morning, till Wally’s father and stepmother had left the home. Avoiding each of his sisters, we’d placed on our bar mitzvah garments, together with a tie (oh the brilliance of our disguises), and sneak out of his home and casually stroll to Beth Abraham, the closest synagogue. 

Jeff (L) and Wally (R) in younger days.
Jeff (L) and Wally (R) in youthful days. Nathan Vicar | Detroit Jewish Information

One in every of us would stroll as much as the entrance door and test that the coast was clear. Waving the opposite man in, we might seize two taleisim from the gathering and cling them up close to the lavatory, in order that it will seem we had been current for companies all morning. Checking ourselves within the mirror, we might be certain we appeared presentable (sharing the comb one in every of us had strategically remembered to deliver alongside). Then we would depart the remainder room, placed on our borrowed taleysm, and enter the sanctuary collectively, greeted by these candy phrases from the bimah: “Will the congregation please rise for our concluding prayer, Adon Olam!” 

After becoming a member of the congregation in track, we might then casually be part of the queue and depart the sanctuary, heading over to the kiddush, ready respectfully for the bracha earlier than we every claimed our rightful slice of seven-layer cake. 

What a plan! I nonetheless keep in mind it in shocking element. The story lives on, at the least in my creativeness. However the query haunts me … did we actually comply with by way of and do it? I truthfully wasn’t positive. So, in fact, I went on to the supply. With some trepidation, I referred to as my previous buddy Wally, now retired in Arizona. Did he keep in mind the plan? Completely. Now the massive ask: Did we truly pull it off? 

He requested me why I wanted to know. I defined that I used to be writing an article about that point and our relationship. I may hear the smile in his voice. “It’ll make a greater story for those who write it as if it occurred.” 

After which, I remembered one in every of our favourite sayings from these days of intense friendship. When one in every of our pals who had the next danger tolerance than both of us teenage wannabes instructed a doubtful plan, Wally and I might flip to one another and collectively in unison say these phrases of knowledge that saved us from ourselves extra instances than we may depend: “Let’s not and say we did!”

Wanting again to these less complicated instances, I nonetheless keep in mind how particular it was to have a buddy like Wally. Sixty years later, we’re each older and maybe wiser, however, as you may see, Wally additionally nonetheless remembers these instances — and he’s nonetheless obtained my again!


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