Holocaust survivor will finally celebrate his bar mitzvah after missing the opportunity in 1916.
Yisrael Kristal had to wait for exactly 100 years for his bar mitzvah ceremony. Now named the oldest man alive at 113, Kristal was supposed to have undergone through the ceremony at age 13. however, the demise of his mother, which was followed by his father getting sent to Russia to serve in their army, the ceremony was canceled. These tragic incidents were followed by the two World Wars, during which the matter of his bar mitzvah ceremony remained just a wish.
However, his desire to be officially initiated into his Jewish faith seems to have been alive all through the years. Undaunted by his age, Kristal decided to decided to finally get done with it and fulfill his lifelong wish. Now that his family is settled and is standing on firm ground, Kristal seems to have finally got the time for himself to achieve his childhood dream.
So great: This man who survived Auschwitz will finally get a bar mitzvah, a century late, at age 113 https://t.co/ECW2hONr9n
— Sarah Pulliam Bailey (@spulliam) September 15, 2016
Kristal celebrated his 113th birthday on Thursday, according to the Gregorian calendar. With the support of his family, he has planned a bar mitzvah ceremony exactly two weeks later, which is his birthday according to Jewish Hebrew calendar, which for religious Jews, is more important.
Yisrael's family is very excited about the ceremony, which will be held in Haifa, Israel. The event will be celebrated by more than 100 family members of Kristal, including his children, grand-children, great grand-children and members from all branches of his family. His first wife lost her life at the Auschwitz camp during the Holocaust in World War II. He lost two of his sons too at the same concentration camp. Having survived the Holocaust, Kristal moved to Israel after a second marriage, and made it his permanent home. When he was rescued by the Allied Forces in 1945, he is reported to have weight little over 80lbs.
The bar mitzvah ceremony is an important occasion for all Jews which symbolize a child's transition to religious maturity. “Bar mitzvah” roughly translates to “Son of the Commandment.” The ceremony is called “bat mitzvah” for girls. The ceremony takes place when the child is 13 and involves the child being “called up” in the synagogue to read portions of the Torah to the gathering. This is symbolic of a child's assumption of her/his religious obligations to the Jewish faith.
Family members of Yisrael Kristal have revealed that his bar mitzvah will be celebrated with all the usual features like putting on the phylactery, singing, dancing and even distribution of candies.