More than 100 boys, all of whom have lost a parent, will celebrate a mass bar
mitzva ceremony at the Western Wall on Monday, in the 21st annual communal bar
mitzva organized by the Chabad movement’s volunteer wing.
originally organized mass bar mitzvas for immigrants from the former Soviet
Union (FSU), explained Rabbi Sholom Duchman, the director of Colel Chabad, the
social welfare branch of Chabad. As immigration from the FSU tapered off, they
turned their attention to boys who have lost one or both parents due to terror
attacks, car accidents, cancer and other tragedies, he said.
advantage of them being together is because they don’t want to go to synagogue
[for their bar mitzva] because they don’t have their father, and a father is a
major figure in the synagogue,” Duchman said. “They want to wipe it off, stay
away from it. But doing it with other kids in the same situation gives them the
push they want to do it.”
After the ceremony at the Western Wall, the 110
boys and their families will attend a festive party at the Jerusalem
International Convention Center. The NIS 600,000 event will be attended by:
Israel’s Chief Rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar; 10 ministers including
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Communications
Minister Moshe Kahlon and Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi; mayors; and
other public leaders.