Second of two parts
Arriving in Seattle for Rosh Hashana two weeks ago mere hours before the holiday, I only had time to cursively greet the family of five I would be living with.
While my fiancé Shira was showing me around her old Seward Park neighborhood, we stopped at a huge market because I had not eaten since the day before.
Two smiling, open-faced gentlemen, father and son, were exiting as we entered.
“I know who you are,” Shira’s rabbi, Ron-Ami Meyers, said, warmly extending his hand as 13-year-old Beryl stood nearby.
Had I any doubt, it instantly vanished. This was going to be a fast, unusually friendly, frequently funny five days, more comfortable than home.
Since no one ever has heard of a mother of 10 who is not welcoming, Rebbetzin Meyers greeted us with unmatchable food and personality.
That explains why Beryl, Seattle’s most mature 13 year old and fastest rising entrepreneur, and I became immediate pals.
Ten-year-old Shani is on the ledge of becoming the world’s most accomplished woman entrepreneur under 30.
With her brother and sister inhaling the maximum oxygen allowable in a single family home, soft- and seldom-spoken 16-year-old Chana silently carries out the least glamourous chores, serving — and later cleaning — the dishes. The dimensions of this glamourless chore are not to be overlooked.
When there are full-table guests at every repaste from Wednesday evening through Shabbos and Saturday evening, even a healthy, ambitious teen’s energy can wane, though she never showed it.
The seven older Meyers’ children, profoundly committed Jews, married and moved to Israel.
Happily, the Meyers family lives next door to Ezra Bessaroth, the Sephardic synagogue where the Ashkenazic Winnipeg-born rabbi has presided the past seven years.
Not for long, though.
In July, the last five Meyerses will make aliyah (move to Israel).
Celebrating the two days of Rosh Hashana in the 900-seat open-air synagogue with the collegial Sephardic community – combined with the Meyerses’ immense hospitality – made this the swiftest, most rewarding holiday of my life.
You probably are aching with curiosity, wondering how a 56-year-old Orthodox rabbi, married 33 years, father of 10 and in charge of a large synagogue, fills his off-hours.
As the sole owner of a hilarious sense of humor and a global imagination, Rabbi Meyers is Seattle’s premier amateur puppeteer.
What better pastime could 10 happy children yearn for?