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We invited 70 family members to cut our 3 year old son's hair for the very first time. 

Our baby, our youngest, Shaulie Dovid finally had his upsherin.

An upsherin (or upshernish) in Yiddish, chalakah in Hebrew is a haircutting ceremony that takes place on a boy's 3rd Jewish birthday after-which he begins to wear a kippah and tzitzit.

The honor of the "chalakah rishona" went to HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita the Gadol Hador (the leading Rabbi, legal scholar and authority of the Jewish Orthodox world).

It was the greatest honor and privilege to have my sons blessed by HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita and one of the many merits of living here in the Holy Land of Israel.

We then invited our local family to our home to complete the ceremony.  After a few moving words from Hubby all the men and boys had a chance to snip as well.

I was super emotional and actually pushed off the ceremony by an extra month. "Logistical reasons" was the official company line. You see Shaulie Dovid was born on Gimmel Av (the 3rd day of the Jewish month of Av). That falls out during the 9 days, part of the larger 3 weeks, which signify a time of mourning in commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, amongst other terrible tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people throughout history during this time period. During this time various aspects of mourning are observed including no haircuts or shaving.

Once we observed Tisha B'Av my boys 3-week summer vacation began along with all of Israel and everyone was traveling, swimming, picnicking, hiking, camping, beaching - insert fun activity here - so we waited for Rosh Chodesh Elul, the start of the new school year to cut our "baby's" hair and have him don a yarmulka and tzitzis. 

My emotion was not born from sadness but from the intense joy of reaching this beautiful milestone.  I was happy to hold onto his baby hair for just a few extra minutes and then so proud of my little man who grew up in an instant right before our eyes.  

We spent the first few days staring at him amazed at the transformation.  He returned our long stares and smiles, with his twinkling eyes and shining grin somewhat puzzled by our intense focus, after all we all look the same.  But he has instantaneously matured.  While still my baby (I know the youngest gets tagged with that for life) the rest of the world will now recognize our young son as a Jewish boy, dressed in the uniform of Torah observance.

An upsherin can be an over the top party, held in a hall, with a proper hot meal and even entertainment for the gaggle of kids. But we kept ours low-key, open house style, with light refreshments. It was more important to me that we had the means to host the entire family in Israel as opposed to hosting a fancier affair for a select few.

I think the atmosphere and vibe was just right,  Do you?  Have you celebrated an upsherin before?  If so, how? Or are you now willing to consider it?  Let me know in the comments below.