Nadav Elharar, who lost his father Nissim in the July 16 Katyusha attack on a Haifa train depot, celebrated his bar mitzva at the Western Wall Thursday, thanks to the support and outreach of a Chabad community emissary.
After losing her husband and seeing the synagogue in her hometown of Kiryat Ata destroyed by a Katyusha, Orly Elharar decided to cancel her son's bar mitzva. At his father's funeral, Nadav Elharar had pulled at the nation's heartstrings when he cried out, "Who will guide me at my bar mitzva?"
It was those words that prompted Chabad emissary and close family friend Rabbi Chaim Shlomo Diskin to step in. Diskin told the Elharars that Tzeirei Chabad's Terror Victims Project (CTVP) would arrange a bar mitzva celebration for the entire family plus 100 friends at the Western Wall.
Following the ceremony at the wall on Thursday, the Elharar family together with representatives of Chabad and close friends celebrated Nadav's special day with a festive meal at the Dan Pearl Hotel in the capital, where he was presented with a bicycle from the organization.
"I am very sad because I lost a great husband and my children lost a wonderful father," Orly Elharar said in a speech at the bar mitzva. "Inside we are crying, but outside we try to keep smiling. We are grateful to Tzeirei Chabad for making this celebration."
She continued, "All over the world they see just the Lebanese suffering. People don't know that here in Israel a man that just went to work never came home because he was killed by a missile. We have a lot of loss here."
Tzeirei Chabad, a national organization comprising a 220-strong network of Chabad houses, runs a host of social welfare programs across Israel including camps, soup kitchens and educational projects. Since Katyusha rockets began raining down on Israel a month ago, Tzeirei Chabad has mobilized its entire network of local emissaries as well as thousands of volunteers to provide physical and spiritual relief to Israelis in the embattled northern communities.
Relief efforts by Chabad include the daily distribution of more than 30,000 sandwiches, drinks and other essential equipment to bomb-shelter-bound residents in Acre, Karmiel, Haifa, Hatzor, Kiryat Ata, Kiryat Motzkin, Ma'alot, Nahariya, Rosh Pina, Safed, Shlomi, and Tiberias; coordinating home hospitality for hundreds of northerners with Chabad families in the center of Israel; and distributing one million Tehillim books to civilians and soldiers alike, among many other activities.
"In these days of war and fear, we must take actions that radiate light, faith, optimism and goodness," said Rabbi Yossie Raichik, CTVP Director. "This bar mitzva celebration in the face of such pain and tragedy, like our myriad relief efforts both physical and spiritual throughout Israel, holds the key to Israel's ultimate triumph."