So, 4 Italians walk into a synagogue…

Synagogue - Soprano's style

Synagogue – Soprano’s style

No, but seriously, I have made many a reference to my family being a mixed bag of nuts. We are our very own melting pot of religions, political beliefs and parenting styles. The one thing that we have in common (other than thinking our mothers are insane) is that we love the shit out of each other and embrace the major milestones we get to spend together.

And this past weekend was testament to that as we invaded an unsuspecting synagogue on Long Island to celebrate the first bar mitzvah among the gaggle of 15 great-grandchildren my amazing 92-year old grandmother is so lucky to experience.

I begin mental prep for the flight days before because I HATE flying. I have finally perfected a preflight cocktail that prevents me from becoming a pukey mess. SLS waits for the magic moment about 4o mins after I take it, for the inevitable slurring and slo-mo behavior, and just watches in wonder. I can’t tell if he just loves me so much he finds it cute or if he’s horrified and can’t look away.


After the 72 wheelchairs (I’m only slightly exaggerating) made it onto the plane, we started to board.


And of course, only a quarter of them exited the aircraft in wheelchairs. 

And of course, only a quarter of them exited the aircraft in wheelchairs.

Jason’s mom graciously picked us up from the airport and less than an hour off the plane we were at Century 21. This is like the best store ever. It’s like a Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for ballers. Usually I shop Jason under the table but this time he crushed me.

While my family was starting to gather, we made our usual pilgrimage into Manhattan to binge and shop more, particularly for tshirts with funny phrases and deceased rappers – those are our favorite. Usually we like to do a FULL food tour. But this time we kept it light. And by light I mean Cronuts, BBLT (Burrata, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) with a side of bacon mac and cheese and fried mac and cheese. And if you can’t imagine that being light, you have no clue the damage we did last time.

Also, being no strangers to Dominique Ansel bakery (home of the Cronut), we knew we had to score some of those suckers. Those things sell out quicker than a celeb doing an Activia commercial. But my husband, being the genius he is, ordered them 2 weeks prior to our visit (yep! You can do that). But he didn’t just order 2. He went for the half-dozen. He just couldn’t contain his Cronut excitement. And you know what? It was worth the hype and every last calorie.


Because we need three square meals a day, we met friends for dinner at a fancy italian restaurant and the celebrity sighting there made up for the food my husband thought was lackluster. Poor guy couldn’t even rally the rest of us in excitement since it was NY Jet Brandon Marshall, and SLS was in the company of two women, a gay man and another man who doesn’t really follow sports.

Also, I'm a moron because I tagged the wrong restaurant. I don't even know what Carbon NYC is. We were at CARBONE.

Also, I’m a moron because I tagged the wrong restaurant. I don’t even know what Carbon NYC is. We were at CARBONE.



My Blonde Bestie

Finally it was back to Long Island to stay with my cousins who just completed their kitchen renovations.

Isn’t it gorgeous??? ;) This is 100% real and the result of three kids and two full-time jobs. But check out the stove, if you can see it over the laundry pile.

We woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to head to the Bar Mitzvah the next morning, the whole reason we came! My mom only called me 17 times to ask me if Jonathan had a jump seat in his SUV to accommodate us, otherwise she would come and get us. Seriously, 17 times plus texts.

So 4 adults and 3 kids crammed comfortably in the truck and hit the road, dressed to the nines. That’s when we hear:

“Are you eating cereal back there? IN YOUR DRESS??!”

“Yes dad! Don’t stop short, ok?

“I’m definitely going to stop short, are you crazy?!? Pass that up here right now!”

“But I’m hungryyyyyyyyyyyyy”


“Jonathan, don’t throw out the window!! It’s a real bowl and spoon”

(Dumps contents of real bowl out the window and keeps on trucking)


Just as that episode ended, an Entenmann’s Truck with pictures of Little Bites on the side of it rolls up next to us and the kids lose their shit.


They literally start plotting the takedown of the truck like little criminals…How they are going to crash into it and steal the mini-muffin bounty. This went on the whole time the truck was next to us, and then when the truck made a second appearance alongside us again.

We arrived at the synagogue, hunkered down for the service and 5 seconds later my mom already had her shoes off.

The Bar Mitzvah boy was AMAZING!!


Like a little jewish comedian. It was equal parts Torah and Entertainment. My cousin gave a phenomenal speech including stories like the time his son told the waitress his parents were alcoholics. A notion he deduced solely based on the fact that him loving chocolate made him a chocoholic…and well…

We moved on to part deux, which was the party aboard a huge boat.



While we were waiting to board, we got in to all sorts of conversations. One of which revolved around boobs. My mom launched into a theory about how no matter how skinny you are, if you have big boobs, they are all you see and can distract from the skinny factor. That convo ended with one of my favorite questions of the day, with my mom asking, “No, seriously…have you ever seen a ballerina with knockas?” My second favorite thing she said was that she did not want to put her drink down because, “someone might slip a molly in it”.

The fun started immediately, which was good because it distracted us from the boat literally spinning in circles for 2 hours. No, seriously, the ship lost steering and we had to have another smaller boat show up to try and fix it.

So this happened…


And so did this…

And so did this

But NONE of it stopped us from dancing our asses off. The DJ was awesome. We “Wobbled” and “Whip Nae Naed”.

Wait for it….

[vimeo 139494035 w=500 h=888]

Editor’s Note: I feel the need to explain that my mother grabbed her boobs strictly to control bounce, not to be provocative. Although that would have been awesome too. I mean c’mon, who has a better mother than me?

mom whip nae nae from Rachel Sobel on Vimeo.

And even took it back to the old school with some Kid n Play action.

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kid from Rachel Sobel on Vimeo.

I was sweating like back at the day at Baja Beach Club when I engaged in hoodrat dancing.

My cousin told me all I was missing was a cage to dance in. I took it as a compliment. The kids looked at us like we were insane. A look my family is VERY used to. The DJ offered me a job (been there done that, paid for a Europe trip with dancer money – that’s bar mitzvah dancer – get your mind out of the gutter.)

The theme was iParty so naturally there were balloon centerpieces with tween created acronyms. We recognized most of them – like WTF, TTYL, LOL. But there were some I’d never heard of – like HMU.


After polling the second generation of cousins we learned it was Hit Me Up and I felt old. But not as old as when one of the little cousins asked if I was the mother to Alexys – my cousin’s 17-year-old. Here’s another acronym for you – FML.

I mean, c'mon...her mother!!???

I mean, c’mon…her mother!!???

Like they say in hip hop, After the party, there’s an after party. And there was. We all schlepped back to the bar mitzvah boy’s house, where we ate…again.

Everyone plowed through pizza like drunk sorority girls.


And as if THAT wasn’t enough. We came back the next morning for bagels. The whole weekend was like we were all carb loading for a marathon. I have NEVER seen a bag of bagels that big. And there were TWO.


Bagels for days

My mom and Aunt Sharon were late because my aunt “lost” her cell phone. I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t you just call it? Well, that would have been a great plan – if the phone wasn’t in airplane mode. Let me be clear that she was not in fact on an airplane, but she turned it on airplane mode for fear of it ringing during the bar mitzvah service, because sometimes when she “turns the volume off, it still manages to ring”. They turned the house upside down, performed an extensive search in between the seats of the car. And then my mom said, “You need to pray. Put the Yarmulke from Dylan’s bar mitzvah on your head and pray to find the phone.”

My mom is telling us this story and says ” so she put the yarmulke on and was like Adonai this Adonai that. And then she went upstairs, into the bathroom, stuck her hand in the pocket of her bathrobe and wouldn’t you know the phone was in there?!”

It’s a Mitzvah Miracle!

And it’s not a visit from Auntie (that’s what the cousins’ kids call my mom) without some sort of little gift. This year is was house arrest ankle monitors. Ok, not really but that’s what they looked like.


It was all over in the blink of an eye and were back on the plane headed home. I LIVE for my family. I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of them. We all have different personalities, love to bust each other’s balls and are always laughing.

And this is my favorite pic from the weekend. The original cousins (minus spouses and spawn and missing my brother who stayed back in FL) with my 92-year-old grandma – our Queen Bee!


Thank you Grecos for an AMAZING weekend. Now I’m off to do the 5,000 pounds of laundry. L’Chaim.



Club W