Shahak LeBnei Mitzvah program
Shahak LeBnei Mitzvah program Yeshivat Hesder Meir Harel

A unique Bar Mitzvah celebration took place at the Yeshivat Hesder Meir Harel in Modi'in Thursday, on Lag Ba'Omer.

The Bar Mitzvah boy, an autistic teen, was the first to celebrate the milestone since the inception of the Bar Mitzvah program Shahak LeBnei Mitzvah eight years ago, complete with an Aliyah to the Torah. 

The Bar Mitzvah boy usually communicates via writing, but was helped to fulfill the mitzvah by his father. Father and son stood side by side as the father read the Torah and said the special blessings; the father then read out the Bar Mitzvah boy’s expression of gratitude. He pointed out that his Bar Mitzvah bears testimony to the fact that all boys with special needs can have an Aliyah LaTorah. 

The yeshiva students then burst into joyful dance along with the boy and his family.

“This unique and emotional event, particularly on Lag BaOmer, paves the way for the inclusion of many boys with special needs throughout the city," Rosh Yeshivat HaHesder Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald (IDF Res. Colonel) noted.

Shahak LeBnei Mitzvah has extended its outreach to include boys with special needs throughout the city. The program was named after former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak, who was instrumental in founding the tutorial program for Torah reading and Jewish heritage. 

This program has expanded considerably throughout the country and is now part projects sponsored by Jewish heritage foundations, such as Moreshet HaKotel.