Families affected by hostilities face a lengthy and challenging road to rehabilitation, in addition to significant economic distress. Many lack the financial resources to go out for entertainment—much less plan a bar or bat mitzvah for their children.
Over the past five years, we have partnered with a representative organisation for victims of the hostilities in Israel, and have co-sponsored a special event just for children affected by terror—a bar & bat mitzvah celebration.
This year’s event was attended by 60 Bar/Bat Mitzvah boys and girls and their families—making for a fun evening full of surprises, love, and joy.
After a light breakfast, the children received gifts: A hoodie, a computer bag, kippa, tefillin kit, and a prayer book for the boys—and for the girls, a flower head-piece, candlesticks, and a prayer book.
The boys had a Torah reading ceremony at the Western Wall, while the girls took part in a ceremony meant to strengthen the girls' emotional connection to Jerusalem and the Western Wall, as they reach the age of beginning to carry the responsibility of the commandments. The mothers put their hands on their daughters and blessed them—a compelling spectacle that moved us deeply.
After some refreshments of pastries and fruits, another ceremony began at the "Aish HaTorah" Hall, where words of blessings were given, and a children's choir sang songs. Batya Segal, the co-founder of Vision for Israel, expressed joy at the opportunity to celebrate the Bar/Bat Mitzvah with the children, and the privilege of giving them a special and full day of good experiences.
At noon, the families were taken by bus to the "Alma in the Colony" event hall, where they enjoyed a festive lunch and each child received a laptop as a gift. Afterwards, everyone arrived at the president's house for a dessert ceremony hosted by actress Esther Rada.
The president blessed the children and expressed sympathy for their enormous difficulties, and encouraged them to grow stronger and aspire to a good life despite each individual's tragic event.
The children's representative, Achiah Emmanuel Fisher, spoke about his personal experience as a bereaved brother, and the impact of his sister's memory on his life and family. Achiah chose to commemorate the memory of his late sister Advah by donating all the gifts he received at the event to the needy and those with special needs.
Without a doubt, our generous donors have given these dear children and their families an experience that will be etched in their memory for many years to come.