Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebration for Young Victims of Terror
"Don't thank us all the time for hosting you. For Nechama and I, it's simply a great pleasure to have you in our home, especially the Bar and Bat Mitzvah children who are celebrating this special day. Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a very important ritual in the Jewish tradition. It is the moment that we take upon ourselves the yoke of mitzvot, transferring from the world of childhood to the world of adulthood..."
These were the opening words of Israel's President, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony that was held in part at the President's house last week.
"This ceremony is a very personal thing, something you do with your family, but many times it's a community affair. Today we celebrate this ceremony together. You didn't choose to be part of the terror victims family; you never even dreamed to be here. Our meeting today is very important because it enables us to embrace each one of you in moments of joy and elation and not only in times of sorrow. I know that like any other joy, this joy is also incomplete, when the heart aches and the soul misses and the absence is felt mostly in these hours, when the hug and the loving look are so absent...but we can celebrate with you at this important time in your life, the time when you mature and receive the yoke of mitzvot..."
We worked hard toward this day. A whole team dedicated lots of thought and time to organize a festive day full of exciting experiences.
Sixty-four children from all over Israel arrived with their families; some are orphans, and some were injured in terror attacks. The celebration began at an event hall not far from the Wailing Wall where the families received a nice breakfast. From there they marched to the Wailing Wall, followed by a troop of musicians with drums, shofars, and trumpets. The boys went up to read the Torah, and the girls went on an excursion at the Kotel tunnels. The children then received Bibles and backpacks. Everyone enjoyed a festive lunch with a show, and more presents were given, the highlight being a laptop for each child.
In the evening, the children and families went to the President's house for the last ceremony. It was a very moving ceremony. Itay, a boy who lost his father three years ago when they were going to visit their grandparents for Passover, gave a moving speech. The President also gave a speech, and more food was enjoyed by all.
Soon after the event we received a moving note from Itay's mother:
Dearest Batya and Barry!!
A thousand thanks for the awesome gifts, as my son says. You managed to put a smile on our faces and made the event great! Thank you for the thoughtfulness and for taking photos. I had tears running down my face when I saw Itay, the hero, speaking. May you always be on the giving side. May God reward you. We love you and are always happy to see you at special events, happy and kind!
May we continue to rejoice and bring joy to others. This is our prayer.