Bar Mitzvah At Fifteen



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    Lemaan

    Bar Mitzvah At Fifteen

    “We are not a religious family, but I have always told my children that they are Jews, and wherever in the world they might go, they will belong to the Jewish people and the Jewish community by virtue of being Jews as well”.  A surprising Mivtzoim story in New York last week • Full Article

    Last week, a number of young men set out with the ‘Mivtzoim Tanks’ of the shliach Rabbi Yehuda Pevzner, who has a fleet of four large and impressive tanks, for a regular day of Mivtzoim throughout the city of Manhattan.

    Towards the end of the day, Akiva Zetloff stood outside the ‘tank’ and tried to find the last Jews towards sunset, After several attempts, he met a Jewish guy who wanted to put on tefillin, and even told him that this was the first time he put on tefillin. The young boy finished the prayer and left the ‘tank’. This was the last ‘tefillin’ for that day, after which Akiva locked the ‘tank’ and went back to his house.

    The day ended with a joy that we managed in the last moments to ‘catch’ another Jew and another ‘karkafta’, but there was no special excitement because we are sad to meet a lot of ‘karkafta’ – those who have never put on tefillin. The continuation of the story however, showed us in a clear manner, how much we can not describe and understand what the power of one action and mitzvah is.

    In the evening, after we have returned to our house, Rabbi Pevzner continues, I receive a long message, and here it is:

    “Hello!

    “I’m not sure where to send this message, but, since this number appeared on the vehicle we met, so I’m sending it here… Hope things get to the right destination…

    “My name is Lori and I live in Southern California. Our eldest son Jacob became ‘Bar Mitzvah’ at the beginning of the Corona pandemic – May 2020. My mother, decided to give him a respectable Bar Mitzvah gift – a trip to any place he chooses across the United States. My son chose a trip to New York. Because of all the corona limitations in the last two years, we have only just recently been able to finally schedule this special trip.

    He arrived in Brooklyn yesterday (6/14), to finally start the exciting trip that has been waiting for him for so long… This is his first time in New York, and the excitement was great. Today, on the first day of the trip, he decided to go out and see the ‘big city’. When he got to Union Square they came across a ‘mitzvah tank’ on the street, and a guy who convinced them to go inside. There my son got to put on tefillin for the first time in his life!

    I do not know if he fully understands the meaning of it, but I wanted to admit and say how much it made my heart glad to receive a picture of him wearing the tefillin. We are not a religious family, but I have always told my children that they are Jews, and wherever in the world they might go, they will belong to the Jewish people and the Jewish community by virtue of being Jews as well.

    Your bravery to look for Jews on the street like this (without looking at their ‘religiosity’) and to show them that we are part of ‘one people’ – this is a very special thing. In the past, my children attended the Chabad ‘Gan Yisrael’ camp (Silver Gan Yisrael in Huntington Beach) and every Friday they brought a challah home from the camp in honor of Shabbat. This made me start lighting Shabbat candles… I felt uncomfortable that we only have challahs without Candles… And so, we started ‘celebrating’ Shabbat together as a family every week… something that greatly influenced and united our family.

    Being a Jew is an important part of our identity, and what happened today with our son only added another solid chunk to its Jewish base. The picture of our son with the tefillin moved us so much that it made us immediately contact the local Chabad house, and celebrate a ‘Bar Mitzvah’ tomorrow for another son who turned 13 about a month ago.

    So I just want to say thank you for the work that Chabad does everywhere in the world…

    Know that your action has effect!”

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