Celebrations: Bar mitzvahs at last for survivors

They were supposed to celebrate their bar mitzvahs 70 years ago, but the hardships and persecution of the Holocaust prevented their being called to the Torah at age 13. But on May 10 at Israel’s Western Wall, a group of Holocaust survivors finally got the chance to celebrate the Jewish coming-of-age ritual.

In a heartfelt ceremony, the 13 men from Givatayim, near Ramat Gan, who managed to escape the death camps of World War II, fulfilled their dream to become bar mitzvahs in a public ceremony.

The survivors shared their joy with dozens of 13-year-old boys being called to the Torah at the Western Wall. They laid tefillin next to the concentration camp tattoos, remnants from their horrific experiences, and later read the Haftorah.

At a dinner following the ceremonies, the survivors shared their stories with the bar mitzvah boys and guests. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch called it one of the most moving events he’d witnessed and a unique event in the history of the holy site.

“Darkness and light are mixed here, but hope is absolute,” he said. “This is a testimony for the eternity of the Jewish people.” — ynetnews.com