Little Jerry: Something to Crow About ?

When it comes to memories of Jerry Seinfeld as Bar Mitzvah boychick, Gail Weingarten's are a kipah.

Bee prepared; the star/co-creator of "Bee Movie," Seinfeld may have gotten his inspiration for a landmark "nothing" TV series from the impact he left at Temple Beth Sholom in Amityville, Long Island.

The Amityville horror? No, but those days cast a long shadow … not. "Jerry was in the Hebrew program a year behind me," recalls Weingarten, now of Villanova, who attended the same school from the age of about 9 to 15. "He was there all the time that I was there."

Giddyup! Spill, spill; some milk and sugar with those caffeinated anecdotes, Gail? Think of this as Monk's coffee shop, with everyone listening from the booth behind us.

"His father was very active at the synagogue; he blew the shofar on the holidays," she recalls.

Yes, yes, but did Jerry wear size 31 jeans even back then … "From what I remember, Jerry was kind of small, shy. He never struck me as being funny."

Observational humor of a different kind. "He was kind of a … nebbish."

She can't recall any specific conversations — "although we did talk" — with him but is conversant with the man who gave little Jerry something to cock-a-doodle-doo about: "My father was president of the synagogue at the time and is probably the one who handed Jerry his Bar Mitzvah certificate."

Mandelbaum power! Uh, no, it's Weingarten. Was Jerry's Bar Mitzvah reception held at a Chinese restaurant? If he was that indistinct a kid before distinguishing himself in comedy, did other Bar Mitzvah students have to remember his name by word association — did they call him "Merry"?

Indeed, the boy who would one day become everyone's favorite Jewish "joke boy" was the square sugar cube in a cup of Ovaltine: "I'm surprised, I never expected it, that he would become so rich and famous. What I expected of him is that he'd be staying in Long Island and not be doing anything extraordinary."

Indeed, the "Superman" fan who fanned fame as "Supermonologist" was not so … super … back then. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"He was nerdy and nice, small and quiet," says Weingarten with no sense of disparagement for the cereal kidder.



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