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Feb 17 2016

Birthdays, Bar Mitzvah, and Ben's ComputersPosted By Thomas Chee - 02/17/16

Marty Mizrahi’s family ran businesses throughout downtown Los Angeles in the Hollywood section of Melrose. Marty was young. The family didn’t have much money; Not enough to purchase the top selling computer Marty required for his curiosity. The family did well, but Marty had an old, outdated computer. He typed away at the keyboard night and day. His mother noticed his interest, but the computer’s power wasn’t advanced enough for the speed he wanted. The answers to Marty’s prayers came from his Bar Mitzvah. At the time in a boy’s life, when the boy becomes a man, the Hebrews celebrated the coming of age during a ritual dating back to the beginning of the Torah known as the Bar Mitzvah. In Hebrew, bar stands for son, whereas mitzvah means law. Combined, bar mitzvah is a time when a boy becomes a man because he has learned a command of the Jewish holy laws given in the Torah. Marty’s parents announced that Marty was celebrating his heritage’s Commandments during his first Shabbat after his thirteenth birthday. The party was organized with the entire community, friends, and family traveled to attend to listening of Marty read into the ritual from the last verses in The Book of the Prophets. This is one of the reasons Jews were so successful over millenniums since the Exodus from Egypt. Many cultures could not read even into the Twentieth Century. In many countries, people cannot write. Illiteracy has always been widespread throughout the world. Ataturk changed his countries Turkish alphabet to the Greek system and abandoned the Arabic system to increase literacy in 1928. Known as the Ataturk Reforms, the leaders priority was a literacy drive. The point is that up until 1928, literacy was a challenge in many countries surrounding what would become Israel. The Jews always valued literacy. As well as knowledge of numbers, Jewish people valued mathematics. For example, zero was an idea that did not take hold in many countries surrounding the globe. But Hebrews taught their cultures to read, write and perform rituals with letters, symbols and a knowledge of numbers. Even in this century, this knowledge was new. Sons celebrating Bar Mitzvah’s had to read for their congregation to listen. After celebrating his Bar Mitzvah, Marty approached his mother to ask, “They gave me money – As gifts. What do I do with all this money?” Marty’s mother insisted, “You like computers. Let’s go get a computer will all the power you need. Let’s get a great computer like the ones you see in the store window.” There was one store on Melrose Avenue that sold computers owned by an entrepreneur named Ben.

Marty’s mother took her son to Ben’s Computers in the area of Melrose. Ben talked Marty into buying an advanced system, a large CPU with fans to cool the interior; Plus a separate monitor as large as a TV screen.” Marty brought the heavy boxes home; But his father arrived from work. When Marty’s father studied the system, he realized that Ben had ripped Marty off. Marty’s father was a negotiator. He knew a good deal. He knew what poor quality Ben had sold Marty. To add insult to injury, Ben was considered a family friend. So Marty’s father put the boxes into his car, drove Marty to Ben’s computer store, and screamed at Ben in front of all his customers, “How could you rip off my son by selling him this piece of junk at this price? After all, I thought you were a family friend? We have been doing business on this street together for generations. This is my son’s bar mitzvah money. He came here to spend his gift on your computer parts?”

“I am sorry.” Ben felt ashamed, “I will give you the best computer I got.” Ben talked to Marty, apologized to Marty’s family, and sat down to teach Marty how to use his new computer. When Ben sat down to work with Marty, he realized that Marty was bright. Ben needed smart people interested in technology. The science of computers was changing every day. Ben needed an Engineer smart enough to keep up with the changes, but young enough to pay a small price for employment. Adults with computer skills like Marty cost more per hour than Ben could afford to pay, so Ben asked Marty’s dad if it was okay for Marty to work in his store. Marty would learn all the new technology before the instruments were released to the public. Marty would meet the wholesalers, salesmen and dealers as his listened to the computer corporations sell their information for Ben to buy. Marty was the youngest employee Ben had in the store, but Ben sent Marty out to companies throughout the reach of his Southern California community to set up networks, servers, landline connections, central processing units, hard drives; Marty learned his engineering skills early from the ground up as well as what corporations needed from computers to be more productive.

LV.Net, LasVegas.Net, LA.com, Hawaii.com, Vegas.com, Marty Mizrahi started all these corporations on computers, but based on my research, all of Marty’s opportunities were based on his mother’s decision to buy a computer following his Bar Mitzvah. Marty Mizrahi’s mother is responsible for the beginning branches of would eventually grow into the largest local Internet provider in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Tags for this post: Bar Mitzvah birthday Southern California computers technology Melrose

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