Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Medical doctor to become a bar mitzvah on his 93rd birthday

Dr. Norman Gladsden will become a bar mitzvah May 16 at age 93.
Dr. Norman Gladsden will become a bar mitzvah May 16 at age 93.

If there is anyone out there thinking they are too old to realize a dream, consider this:

At age 93, Norman Gladsden, M.D., will become a bar mitzvah on May 16. The event will take place 80 years after his first attempt, when he was 13. At that time, Gladsden was hospitalized for months with pneumonia, and his bar mitzvah was placed on the back burner, so to speak, for 80 years.

A lot of living happened for Gladsden in the past 80 years. He grew up to complete high school in Philadelphia, where he was born, and later received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Temple University. He and first wife, Barbara Schindler, have three children and three grandchildren. His second wife, Anne, is now deceased.

When asked why he waited so long for his bar mitzvah, Gladsden said:

“Something happened between the ages of 70 and 90. One day I was still 70, the next day I was 90. When I hit the big 9-0, I started getting ill. Then, it occurred to me — it would be a fun thing to do. I had to learn the alphabet in Hebrew and then words. I didn’t know whether a 90-year-old could do that.”

Gladsden said his would not be an “ordinary” bar mitzvah. “Most 12-year-olds give a speech and talk about how much they love their parents, about school .... What does a 93-year-old talk about? People say the young bar mitzvah is entering manhood. I will speak off the cuff and I will say, ‘I am a man.’”

He said the upcoming event has made him more aware of his family and his many friends. He sent out many invitations and “they all responded positively. I was amazed.”

Gladsden came to Miami in 1953 to complete his medical residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He decided to stay and established a 30-year private practice in family medicine. A member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, he also is a founding member of Cedars Medical Center, now part of the UHealth System.

With all that behind him, Gladsden felt it was time to renew his interest in Judaism and became a member of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, and started the task of re-learning Hebrew, studying the Torah portion and learning the prayers for the Shabbat morning service. He did this in spite of being legally blind.

Gladsden was scheduled to have his big day this past January, but last November he sustained injuries in a car accident and took some time off to recuperate before returning to his studies.

The bar mitzvah will take place on Gladsden’s 93rd birthday, which happens to be just two days before Temple Israel’s 93rd birthday. How great is that!?

Celebrating this wonderful milestone with Gladsden are his children, Joy Bartmon, Lawrence Gladsden and Stuart Gladsden, and grandchildren Charles David Gladsden and Meredith and Amanda Bartmon and the Temple Israel family.

Six deacons to be ordained as priests

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Archbishop Thomas Wenski will ordain six new priests for the Archdiocese of Miami. The Ordination Mass will be at St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 NW Second Ave.

According to an archdiocese news release, the number of ordained priests doubled from the previous year, when three deacons were ordained to the priesthood.

The six candidates have completed their Master of Divinity degrees at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, as well as their diaconate at different parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami.

▪ Deacon Bryan Anthony Garcia, 26, was born in Miami and is a graduate of Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens. He entered the seminary in fall 2007 and his home parish is Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah. He has been serving at St. David Church in Davie.

▪ Deacon Javier Barreto Medina, 34, was born in Puerto Rico, where he attended middle and high school. He entered the seminary in fall 2006. His home parish is the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West. He has been serving at All Saints Church in Sunrise.

▪ Deacon Julio Enrique de Jesus, 43, was born in the Dominican Republic, where he attended school for a while. He came to the U.S. and graduated high school here. He entered the seminary in fall 2009 and his home parish is Mother of Our Redeemer Church in Miami. He has been serving at St. Andrew Church in Coral Springs.

▪ Deacon Michael Anthony Garcia, 26, is a Miami native and attended Everglades Middle School and Chapel Hill High School before entering the seminary in fall 2006. His home parish is St. Agatha Church in Miami and he has been serving at Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah.

▪ Deacon Phillip Hoang Tran, 29, was born in Long Beach , California, where he attended St. Ambrose School and John Paul II High School. He entered the seminary in fall 2008. His home parish is Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Church in Palmetto Bay. He has been serving at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Miami.

▪ Deacon Yamil Alejandro Miranda Perez, 30, was born in Nicaragua. He is a graduate of Miami Senior High School and entered the seminary in fall 2006. His home parish is St. John Bosco in Miami and he has been serving at Our Lady of the Lakes Church in Miami Lakes.

The Mass is open to the community.

Rev. Dunn to speak at Temple Sinai in NMB

The Rev. Richard P. Dunn II will be the speaker at Temple Sinai’s Interfaith Service and Congregational Shabbat Dinner at 6:15 Friday.

Dunn is the senior pastor at Faith Community Baptist church and is a former city of Miami commissioner. The event, which is geared to building and fostering better race, religious and cultural relations, will be in the temple’s Feinbloom Sanctuary. Temple Sinai is at 18801 NE 22nd Ave. in North Miami Beach. Rabbi Alan Litwak is the senior rabbi.

The community is invited. Call 305-932-9010 for more information.

Pre-Mother’s Day Celebration Dance

The Episcopal Church of The Incarnation will have a “Pre-Mothers’ Day Celebration Dance” and you are invited.

The event will be at 9 p.m. Friday at the Grace United Community Church in the 901 Event and Conference Center, 901 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens.

The event will feature dance music by DJ Love and performances by the Bahamas Junkanoo Shakers. Call 305-633-2446 for tickets and more information.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.