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Jewish family celebrates upsherin, a boy’s first haircut

Three-year old Moishy Goldstein, of Naperville, had his first haircut March 25. Hardly newsworthy, except for his family and friends. But his was no ordinary trip to the barber.

Moishy and his family observed the Jewish tradition of upsherin. This inaugural hair-cutting ceremony is a joyous occasion celebrating a young boy’s transition in his Jewish education.

“This is a milestone in a child’s life in which they start to take a more active role in their Jewish life,” said his mother Alta Goldstein.

Moishy’s father is Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, who with Alta, runs the Chabad Jewish Center of Naperville.

Chabad is an acronym for Hebrew words meaning wisdom, understanding and knowledge. The Goldsteins, who came to Naperville from New York as newlyweds, shared the Chabad movement’s vision to “be there for every Jewish person for whatever they may need, from A-Z,” Alta said.

They started in the basement of their home, and after two years, moved the center to a storefront. They now meet at 1935 Brookdale Road in Naperville, where they host Hebrew school, holiday events, Friday night (Shabbat) dinners and worship services, among other events.

Alta explained that, for the first three years of life, “a child absorbs” the happenings around him, soaking up information, observations and things going on around him.

“At the age of three that changes, and the child readies to learn and share,” she said.

Three-year-old boys observe the upsherin, and start wearing tzizit (traditional fringes) and a kippah (head covering). During the upsherin, the boy’s side-locks, which are Biblically mandated, are left intact. He also will begin learning to recite traditional Jewish prayers and blessings. Jewish girls start by helping to light the candles on the Sabbath.

Moishy is the youngest of four children in the Goldstein family, three of whom are boys.

“This is a very exciting time for our family,” Rabbi Mendy said.

Guests from the community were invited to celebrate with the Goldsteins.

Send Our Faith story ideas to wendymfoster@comcast.net.

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