Emanuel bar mitzva followed by mitzva

After ceremony near Kotel, guests visit Alyn Hospital.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JUDY SIEGEL
May 31, 2010 04:29
1 minute read.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (left) spe

rahm emanuel mitzva 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s son Zach and nephew Noah had their long-awaited bar mitzva ceremony on Sunday morning, at the southern wall excavations area near the Western Wall.

The ceremony took place after police obtained a restraining order against right-wing activists who intended to heckle Emanuel. Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel and Noam Federman were forbidden to come within 1,000 meters of Emanuel, whom they consider a traitor to Israel.

The press was also kept at a distance as Zach and Noah each read from the Torah portion of the week and gave their bar mitzva speeches.

Some 40 well-dressed friends and relatives of the Emanuels attended the ceremony, including former ambassador to the United States Itamar Rabinovich and Catholic relatives of Emanuel’s wife, Amy, who converted to Judaism.

No women were called up to the Torah, but some of the female guests wore kippot at the bar mitzva that was held in an area reserved for Conservative ceremonies.

The ceremony concluded with the bilingual song “Od yavo shalom aleinu (Peace will still come to us),” which features the refrain “Salaam (peace, in Arabic) aleinu ve’al kol ha’olam (For us and for the entire world, in Hebrew).”


Following the ceremony, the busload of guests went to Alyn Hospital for physically disabled children and youths, in the capital’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, to meet patients and bring them gifts.

Rahm Emanuel, whose father, Benjamin, was born in Jerusalem and served in the Irgun (Etzel), learned about the national center for rehabilitating disabled young people from an article in The New York Times last year. Emanuel, who understands Hebrew but spoke English, told Alyn staff that he wanted to bring his family to the hospital but insisted that it remain secret until the visit ended.

The bar mitzva boys planted two olive trees on the hospital grounds, while members of the group played ball with a number of Alyn residents in wheelchairs, some of which were suspended in the air. They were told about how the hospital works hard to bring each resident to fulfill his rehabilitational potential in accordance with his physical limitations.

The Emanuels brought a large number of toys and other gifts that will be distributed among the residents, and received handmade artwork that residents produced.

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