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June 27, 2013

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Bar None: Photos & Highlights from the Ari Goldberger Family's Celebration of Life 

As I told you in my last Lowdown post, when I was getting ready to head out for Cherry Hill, New Jersey to attend this past weekend's bar mitzvah for Ari Goldberger's son Josh, I was expecting the kind of BIG production that Ari is known for. Even so, the event wound up far exceeding my already high expectations.

I am especially happy that my wife Diana and I got to witness the bar mitzvah ceremony itself in the Congregation M'Kor Shalom sanctuary. It put everything we saw at the truly amazing party that followed into perspective.

Above: Guests were asked not to disrupt the 5:30pm Saturday (June 15, 2013) ceremony by taking photos in the sanctuary, but just before it began multiple generations of the Goldberger family gathered in the foyer where this shot was taken. 13-year-old Josh Goldberger is third from the left in the gold vest.

Those in the sanctuary included several survivors of the holocaust (including Ari's own family members whom he eloquently discussed in a 2006 DNJournal Cover Story). In the most emotional part of the bar mitzvah ceremony Josh's grandparents passed the Torah Scroll to Josh's parents, Ari and Sharon, who in turn passed it on to Josh. The rabbi described what it meant to see survivors from a generation that saw millions of their people exterminated on stage now to see their heritage and traditions passed on to their children and their children's children who have a bright and unlimited future ahead of them. This night when young Josh officially became a man was a night to celebrate life - and the celebration that followed had all of the joy (and more) that you could imagine would accompany such a meaningful occasion.


Above: After the ceremony guests went to the Westin Mount Laurel Hotel for Josh's big Bar Mitzvah Party. When they arrived they were greeted by this huge James Bond themed photo op wall set up in the lobby. The three secret agents in the center of the circle include Josh Goldberger (left) and his father Ari Goldberger (middle). The 0615 Goldberger logo reflected the June 15 date for the big event.

At right: Ari Goldberger with his longtime partner, friend and fellow domain industry leader  Larry Fischer (left).

Above: The party was spread over multiple  ballrooms at the Westin, including separate rooms where children were entertained throughout the evening. For the adults the evening began in the cocktail hour room with great food, drink and a live combo. The black tie event created an atmosphere that seemed straight out of a James Bond movie.

At left: Adding to the illusion, characters from the Bond films, including dead ringers for the Sean Connery and Daniel Craig versions of agent 007, villains like OddJob and Jaws and the iconic golden girl from Goldfinger (seen here with Ari Goldberger) circulated among the crowd and created some especially memorable photo opportunities.

Below: Five guys from the sizable domain industry contingent that came to Cherry Hill to share this major life event with the  Goldberger family included (left to right) Ron Jackson, Stevan Lieberman, Jason B. Schaeffer, Scott Ross and Steven Kaziyev. Ron and Scott came up from Florida, Stevan Lieberman flew in from Los Angeles and Steven Kaziyev arrived from New York.

Below: After cocktails the crowd moved to the adjacent main ballroom where dinner would be served at elaborately appointed tables with fabulous floral arrangements that were placed around the perimeter of the dance floor. All of the scaffolding, massive video screens and sound and lighting equipment was trucked in for the event and it would all be put to good use as the evening unfolded. Those who were not there in person were still able to watch it all on a live webcast at JoshGoldberger.com.

Above: With friends crowded around Josh Goldberger, with his mother Sharon, conducted a moving candle lighting ceremony.

At right: Ari Goldberger congratulates his son Josh on a great job done at the Bar Mitzvah ceremony earlier in the evening (hours of study and preparation went into that).

Below: In a high point of the evening, reflecting Ari's soaring spirits, he was lifted into the air and spun around in a traditional hora dance that had everyone on their feet.

Above: Steven Kaziyev and Diana Jackson put their hands in the air on the dance floor.

Below: As much as Ari had already delivered, including a great Bond-like mini-movie showing Josh's journey to that special point in time, he had something else up his sleeve. When Ari  throws a party, odds are there is going to be a celebrity sighting. The crowd (especially its younger members) went ballistic when rap/hip hop star Sean Kingston showed up and delivered an impromptu live concert. You did not want to be caught near the front of the stage when the crush began!

After Sean Kingston departed, the party went on with dancing and desserts - a phenomenal procession of rich after dinner delights that could cause you to gain five pounds from just looking at them. When it was all said and done a lot of people left with the feeling that nothing would ever top this Hollywood level production. And maybe nothing will, but as long as Mr. Goldberger is still around I wouldn't bet on it...and who knows what Josh (and his children and his children's children) have in store? There will be much more life to celebrate as the decades ahead unfold.


(Posted June 17, 2013)

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