Each Bar Mitzvah boy was escorted to the Kotel (Western Wall), accompanied by dancing, drums, trumpets and singing. There they made the traditional blessing over the Torah for the first time.Thirteen-year-old Jewish boys traditionally celebrate their Bar-Mitzvah, reaching an age when they are considered adults under Jewish law and take responsibility for observing the mitzvot(Torah commandments).
When Eliner Samuel turned 13 two years ago, he was still mourning the loss of his father, Asaf, to cancer only four months earlier. His Bar Mitzvah party took a back seat and only a year later did he feel like he was able to celebrate. This year, his younger brother Barak joins the ranks of Jewish young men around the world.
Last Thursday, Barak joined 114 other Bar Mitzvah boys in Jerusalem to commemorate this occasion. The event was coordinated by Colel Chabad, Israel’s longest-running social services organization, since 1788, to ensure that the boys and their guests would be able to enjoy every moment. All expenses were covered by donors to the organization.
The collection of families represented at the event were as diverse as Israeli society itself. Although many of the children came from observant backgrounds, for many others it was their first exposure to an organized religious service.
United by Loss of a Parent
The one thing which united all of them was the loss of a parent. Some lost their father or mother to illness, others to tragic accidents or terror attacks and in some cases suicide. But every effort was made to focus on the happiness of the day and leave the child’s pain aside.
Upon arrival in Jerusalem, every boy was given a brand new set of Talit and Tefilin (prayer shawl and phylacteries) (Israel Bardugo) a purchase which on its own reaches into the hundreds of dollars – and took part in the mitzvah of writing a letter in a new Torah scroll dedicated by the Katz family of Ra’anana in honor of the bar mitzvah of their son.
The boys were also treated to a shopping spree at Zara to get ready and look their best for the occasion. “I had never been in that store before, but spending the time with Barak and shopping with him was really fun and a great experience for us both,” said Asaf’s mother, Tzvia Samuel.
Each Bar Mitzvah boy was escorted to the Kotel (Western Wall), accompanied by dancing drums, trumpets and singing. There they made the traditional blessing over the Torah for the first time.
By: Sharon Givati
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