Film reminder of childhood

My rabbi from Gloversville’s temple Knesseth Israel Synagogue, Rabbi Rose Durbin, sent out a monthly newsletter with what’s going on in and around the Jewish community. In this month’s newsletter she included a review of a movie that she recommends, “Keeping Up With the Steins.”

I had Herman locate this movie on Netflix. I found myself laughing out loud with the antics. It reminded me of my own years growing up with the humor in a very neurotic immediate and extended family.

The situation that comes to my mind in “Keeping Up With the Steins” is when the son goes through a bar mitzvah – especially when he goes through all the stress inherent in planning it.

I remember my own bat mitzvah (the female Jewish version of the coming-of-age ceremony). I went through similar things including the Hebrew text, the tunes and standing up in front of the whole congregation practicing my part. I did all this while trying not to be nervous in front of the boys I liked.

The grandfather’s scenes in the movie could have been easily taken from my own life experience. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but suffice it to say it is worth seeing this movie.

The real hilarity comes out when the grandpa skinny dips with his much younger girlfriend in the backyard above-ground pool. George Segal plays the part of the grandfather and pulls it off with a flourish. Oddly enough, Segal plays a similar character on the new TV series “The Goldbergs,” which has a somewhat similar ethnic comedy.

The grandfather also instrumentally butts in with a girl the grandson really likes. (This also is a theme in “The Goldbergs.”)

Ultimately the bar mitzvah goes on without a hitch, as did my own bat mitzvah, complete with my ice skating afterparty. I even had engraved invitations made up.

Overall, I got about $500 from friends and family, but of course, that is not what the whole ceremony is about.

I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood with all my friends who had the same ceremony when they turned 13. So it was a big deal for each and every one of us when we stood up in the synagogue reciting and singing in Hebrew from the Torah.

Whether or not you grew up Jewish, I think you’ll find similarities to your own childhood in this film and I highly recommend it.

Thank you, Rabbi Durbin, for recommending this film.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,