The Cambodian royal family celebrated its first Jewish event, the bat mitzva of Elior Koroghli, the great-granddaughter of King Monivong, who ruled Cambodia until his death in 1941.
Koroghi, who lives in the US, first celebrated her bat mitzva in Las Vegas during Hanukkah 2018. She held a belated celebration in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh over Hanukkah 2019, close to her thirteenth birthday.
The party was catered by the Chabad of Cambodia, which was founded by Rabbi Bentzion and Mashie Butman in 2009.
The party at the royal palace was initiated by Elior's mother, Susie, who wanted her children to be exposed to her family's royal roots.
Susie, the granddaughter of the former king of Cambodia and daughter of the former Cambodian ambassador to the United States, began her long journey to Judaism when she asked her future husband, Ray, to take her to Rosh Hashannah services at his synagogue.
Susie was enamored by the prayer services and asked to return to the synagogue for Shabbat services as well. She eventually converted to Judaism.
Susie and Ray, a Persian Jew who left Iran before the 1979 Iranian revolution, are prominent members of the Chabad Jewish community of Henderson Nevada, near Las Vegas. They raise their three children in an Orthodox Jewish household.
During the celebration, a large Hanukkah menorah was lit and speeches were given about the beauty and depth of Judaism as well as the importance of giving thanks to G-d.