Tefillinצילום: Shutterstock

Preparing for a bar mitzvah, or any happy occasion, often involves some amount of stress or anxiety. For one Jerusalem family though, their son’s bar mitzvah preparations seem an insurmountable mountain.

Shani Bitton, the bar mitzvah boy’s mother, released a heartfelt letter this week to the public:

We knew the date of his bar mitzvah the day my son Efraim was born almost 13 years ago, and yet nothing is ready. The reality is that life is complicated, and for us it is difficult in the extreme. Our bank account is empty.

Click here to help the Bitton family now

We’ve never been comfortable and lately we’ve survived only by receiving money from the local tzedaka fund here in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood of Yerushalayim. I thought it would be a temporary thing, but our terrible financial situation has dragged on month after month.

Now Efraim’s bar mitzvah is approaching and I just don’t have the heart to tell him the truth. He’s been practicing his leining every day for months now, and is looking forward to standing by the bimah with a new suit and his very first hat.

We are not even able to purchase tefillin for him to fulfill the mitzvah as he will be obligated to in just a few short weeks.

Click here to sponsor tefillin for a needy bar mitzvah boy.

It will break his heart if we can’t even have a small party for his class and close family, like every other child in his class. I’m worried the embarrassment will damage his mental health forever.

I’m not sure what else to do, and so I’m writing to you. Please help me give my son a normal bar mitzvah like everyone else.

Thank you,

Shani Bitton

Click here to help the Bitton family now