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March 31, 2015 5:54 pm

113 Bereaved Boys Take Part in Mass Bar Mitzvah at Western Wall

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Monday's mass bar mitzvah celebration at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, hosted by Colel Chabad. Photo: Kobi Amsalem.

JNS.org – The Jewish charity Colel Chabad on Monday hosted a mass bar mitzvah celebration at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for 113 boys who had lost a parent.

Each boy received a new set of tallit and tefillin as well as a dress tie and kippah, and made the traditional blessing over the Torah for the first time. Many of the boys came from economically disadvantaged families that could not have afforded to organize a full bar mitzvah celebration. Causes of death for the boys’ parents included illness, accidents, terrorism and suicide.

The Colel Chabad bar mitzvah program, in its seventh year, was the brainchild of Rabbi Yitzchak Mishan of Brazil, a father of 13 who lost his wife to illness. Colel Chabad also runs a bat mitzvah program for girls.

“During times of happiness, I know that these families feel that something is missing in their lives,” Mishan said in a statement. “So our goal was to ensure that these children know that they are not alone, that they can be truly happy, and that life will go on despite the obvious pain and loss they are feeling.”

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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    To build neighbourhoods throughout Israel and to build Jewish character throughout the Jewish population by honouring each and every Jewish soul via celebration are most commendable undertakings. Lest we forget that we Jews are here in this world to help bring dignity to the human spirit.

  • esther noodelman

    Beautiful way to bring happiness and meaning to these children who have lost parents ! That in essence is the Jewish way!

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