45 the elderly, Holocaust survivors, on the morning of 13 November, celebrated the bar and bat mitzvah at the Western Wall. The participants reached the age of Mitzvot during or immediately after the Second world war, but the opportunity to celebrate this event they had.
During the event the participants put on Tefillin and read the Torah. After the event, took a tour of the tunnels of the wailing Wall. At the end of the event there was a festive lunch. At the event were also invited the family of the elderly.
The press service of the Fund for the Friendship notes that the participants of this event have always felt that their life lacks a certain component of their Jewish identity. The fact that they were not, at the time, through the ceremony of bar or bat mitzvah is a significant omission. Esther Ravicher was 11 years old when the War began. Her entire family was evacuated from Ukraine. Throughout the war, the family lived on the run, and focused on survival. On the celebration of a bat mitzvah, no one thought. «In addition to clothing, in which we were evacuated, we had nothing. We were starving, we lived in poverty. I remember only hunger and cold. My mother told me that according to Jewish tradition the age of 12 girls celebrating a special ceremony, but of course, it at that time was not» — says Esther.
They have not had the opportunity to observe the Jewish tradition not only in war but also in the Soviet time. Simon Liebman was evacuated with his family from Leningrad: «When we returned, it was forbidden to speak about Judaism or about the bar mitzvah, so we did not talk about it … Today I feel like a kid again, and looking forward to the ceremony.»
Alexander Buhnici a similar story: «When the war ended, the family returned to Moscow. But we could not celebrate the bar mitzvah, my mother was busy surviving, we could not even think about it.» In 1994 Bouhnik immigrated to Israel with his family and said he looks forward to the moment when will celebrate his bar mitzvah: «I thought about this for my life and all my life, I felt that I miss that. I’m very excited and pleased that will become a real Jew.»
The heritage Foundation Western Wall stress: «This event shows the deep connection of the Jewish people with its heritage. This is one of the most touching events that took place near the Western wall.»
Yehiel Eckstein, President of the Foundation of friendship said, «it’s hard for Me to think of something more exciting than on the elderly, Holocaust survivors, who are celebrating their bar and bat mitzvah, in the most sacred place for the Jewish people, after their childhood was stolen by the Nazis. We in the Fund have the honor to escort these heroes and help them throughout the year, and I’m glad we were honored to be a part of this touching event.»