Photos: 111 Orphans Celebrate Special Bar Mitzvah
111 boys who have reached the age of Bar-Mitzvah (13) celebrated their Bar-Mitzvah in a unique event organized by Colel Chabad in Israel. All of the boys are orphaned by one or both parents, and Colel Chabad produced a full program in honor of their important birthday, which included an event at the Jerusalem Convention Center (Binyanei Hauma) in Jerusalem, followed by a celebration with the reading of the Torah at the Western Wall.
This event has become an annual event arranged by Colel Chabad in Israel, and this year is the fifth group Bar-Mitzvah of this nature taking place. The event is usually set for the birthdate of the Lubavitcher Rebbe - the 11th of Nissan. However the upcoming visit of United States President Barack Obama made it difficult to hold the event on that date. The organizers noted that the number of orphans involved corresponds to the number of years since the Rebbe's birth - 111.
Each one of the Bar-Mitzvah boys recieved a package of clothing and new shoes, prior to the event. Buses collected the celebrants and their guests from all over the country - each one offered to invite up to 10 guests. As they arrived in Jerusalem, the boys received their own pair of tefillin and tallit in bags with their names embroidered on them.
This program was opened by Rabbi Binyomin Lipkin, who acted as emcee. Followed by Rabbi Sholim Duchman, International Director of Colel Chabad; Rabbi Mendy Blau, Director of Colel Chabad in Israel; Rabbi Amram Blau, Director of Chesed Menachem Mendel and many Members of Knesset from all parties
At the Western Wall, each of the Bar Mitzvah boys received another package of gifts, including: a box of three Shmurah Matzos, a book, an electronic game, cosmetics for the mothers, caps for the relatives to wear at the Kotel, sweets for the family to throw during the Aliyah to the Torah and a certificate. Each group was assigned a Madrich (counselor) and off they went under a new tallit held above them to the calls and singing of family, friends, rabbis and onlookers.