RELIGION

This Holocaust Survivor Finally Got A Bar Mitzvah

At 93, better late than never!
Shalom Shtamberg, a 93-year old Holocaust survivor, is lifted on a chair during celebrations marking his bar mitzvah ceremony
Shalom Shtamberg, a 93-year old Holocaust survivor, is lifted on a chair during celebrations marking his bar mitzvah ceremony, a Jewish coming-of-age celebration traditionally marked by boys at the age of 13, in Haifa, Israel August 31, 2017.

Eighty years after he missed the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, 93-year-old Holocaust survivor Shalom Shtamberg celebrated his bar mitzvah on Thursday with his family and friends in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

Shtamberg was born in Warsaw, Poland, and should have celebrated his bar mitzvah when he turned 13, but instead he was taken to a Warsaw Ghetto with his family.

He survived - unlike most of his family - by training as an electrician and acquiring skills that made him valued as a good worker.

Shtamberg reads from a Torah scroll.
Shtamberg reads from a Torah scroll.

On Thursday, Shtamberg was picked up from his home by trainee police officers, who drove him to a synagogue in Haifa where he was welcomed by cheering crowds and flower bouquets.

He was given a prayer shawl and read from the Torah scroll before breaking into dance with guests, including his wife.

Shtamberg listens as a rabbi blows the Shofar, as part of celebrations marking his bar mitzvah ceremony.
Shtamberg listens as a rabbi blows the Shofar, as part of celebrations marking his bar mitzvah ceremony.

“I haven’t fulfilled my mission yet because I still have things to do,” Shtamberg told Reuters.

One of those things is to detail in lectures the horrors of the Nazi camps he survived, unlike his parents and five brothers who were killed.

Recalling his time in the Ghetto, he said: “In the beginning I did not speak, I said and told nothing because I stayed a child, aged 13, 14, and (living in) Warsaw Ghetto was extremely difficult, every day.”

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