Boys from Germany, Spain, Ukraine and Russia celebrated their Bar Mitzvah and received Tefillin during an emotional ceremony on Thursday Feb. 27th at the Western Wall.
" I was not fortunate to have the opportunity of celebrating my Bar- Mitzva at the Kotel as you have." Began the Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef as he spoke to the 130 European boys and girls during their gala Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration. The Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Moshe Leon opened his greetings by singing the verse " Jerusalem, Praise the Lord". He was pleasantly surprised when many of the youth joined in and sang with him.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch told the audience how excited he was when he saw all the boys putting on their Tefillin, many for the first time.
These were the exciting moments that will be remembered forever. The participants aged 12-13 from Germany, Spain, Ukraine and Russia, experienced an empowering Bar/Bat mitzvah Trip for a week in Israel. The Morasha division of the RCE initiated the trip and was assisted by a long line of charitable foundations. (The Meromim fund run by Rabbi Benzion Lipsker, The Danieli Fund run by philanthropist Moti Sonnenfeld) Along with government agencies (The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs, the Zionist Organization) and private individuals (entrepreneur Rami Levy, "Hashikma Marketing"), who generously assisted in financing the extreme expense of the trip.
This RCE has completed 12 consecutive trips RCE chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin stated that the RCE invested an incredible amount of time and effort to ensure the participant's maximum satisfaction. We know that the memories of trip will be etched in their hearts forever. Some of the guides and mentors were graduates from the first trips" Rabbi Margolin added.
The reception committee RCE's Director General Rabbi Arie Goldberg and Deputy Director General Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker personally received the various European groups as they arrived in Israel. Throughout the whole journey, the boys and girls were accompanied by their community Rabbis, Rebbetzins and counselors with the purpose of exposing them to Judaism and the Land of Israel. All of the children have a Jewish mother. Many of the children attend Non-Jewish local schools, but participate in the Jewish activities in the community.