| vschneps@queenscourier.com |

By the time some of you read this I will be celebrating my beloved son’s marriage to Tracey Wells. I look forward to it with great joy, but I can’t help but feel heavy hearted; after all, he is my baby, no matter how old he is, the youngest of my four children.

It reminds me of my dad, who was the youngest cousin and always called the “boychical” (baby) even when he was way into his 70s. There’s just something about positioning in a family. So sending my son Josh down the aisle will be bringing a new dynamic to my life and his. Stay posted.

Last week Stu and I had celebrations with dear friends. There was Roseanne Frankel’s surprise birthday party and H. and Ruby Singh’s sons coming of age party and ceremony. Both were special and unique in their own way.

I had never been to a Hindu ceremony for a boy. It was moving and memorable. Under a tent in Brijendra Singh’s backyard, on a glorious sunny day, a priest sat with them, father, mother and son, reciting many prayers in a ceremony that has been repeated for over 5,000 years. It struck me how similar all our religions are. In the Jewish faith a boy celebrates coming of age at his bar mitzvah; Catholics celebrate communions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all recognized how similar we really are? Imagine all the wars that could be avoided!

I was transfixed by the rituals and pride on the young face of Brijen Singh. I could feel the power of the ceremony, even though I didn’t know the language being spoken, as the priest wrapped a red string (a “Janeu”) around his wrist. Janeu is a consecrated thread that is worn by each and every Hindu of India. This holy thread of “Janeu” suggests the development of a male, from a young boy to a man. Hindus celebrate the development of a boy through “Upanayanam Samskara” (sacred thread ceremony). The ceremony is generally observed between the ages of 14 and 15. The purpose of thread ceremony is to prepare a young man to share the responsibilities of elders. The ceremony also suggests that the wearer of “Janeu” can participate in the family rituals.

That evening a luxurious party was held at the Greens, a beautiful clubhouse in Melville. It was particularly nostalgic for me because 30 years ago the area was home to a very different population. It was the site of the infamous Suffolk State School, a warehouse for people who were mentally challenged. They spent their lives living on the same property. There was a federal class action lawsuit brought by the parents of the residents and represented by lawyer Murray Schneps, my ex-husband that forced the "school" to close. The property was sold and the residents were moved to group homes.

Amazingly, it is now an upscale community created for people over 50 and has an elegant building for parties, where we celebrated with the Singh family. Oh yes, the food was as good as the setting was beautiful.

From that party we were off to Roseanne’s birthday bash. It seems she had never had a Sweet Sixteen so her loving husband made her one decades after. She looked gorgeous and gloriously happy. We all danced the night away and celebrated like we were just 16 too. What a great weekend of celebrations, with more to come!