Two Worlds Unite
When 13‐year‐old Yitzy celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, he joined two worlds—and then some. From the start, this young, sensitive New York resident wanted to share his Bar Mitzvah celebration with his less‐privileged peers in Israel. More, he wanted his abundant Bar Mitzvah experience to include the world of chesed, of giving to those in need. After a long search, Yitzy and his family chose Boys Town Jerusalem as their natural partner for the ambitious international Bar Mitzvah celebration.
“We approached several organizations and institutions in Israel, but only Boys Town was willing to work with us to make all the aspects of Yitzy’s dream come true,” explained his father. And, just as Yitzy had imagined the event, his Bar Mitzvah celebration at Boys Town brought a world of happiness and generosity to his Israeli counterparts half a world away in Jerusalem.
Once Yitzy and his family were welcomed to the Boys Town Jerusalem campus, their two‐day adventure began with an important chesed/tikun olam project, shared with the school. Rolling up their sleeves—together with eighth‐grade students—the group devoted the day to painting and fixing up the school’s makeshift “International Volunteer Center,” where massive operations for food distribution for the needy take place. “Our main thrust comes before the major holidays, when our students help man the huge packing and distributing efforts,” noted Boys Town director of public relations Yoni Strimber. Over lunch in the school cafeteria, Yitzy and family had a chance to get to talk to their co‐workers as well.
The main Bar Mitzvah celebration came the following day, when the entire seventh grade class was surprised and delighted to be treated to a gala lunch in the school’s dining room, complete with balloons and gifts from the Bar Mitzvah boy. The 200 celebrants—including 40 guests of the family—sang and danced in Yitzy’s honor, hoisting him atop their shoulders. Rabbi David Twersky, principal of the junior high school, exclaimed, “What an amazing People we are! To think that a seventh‐grader in New York has a wish to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with students in the Land of Israel‐‐two worlds separated by so many miles. But in our hearts, we’re so close together. That is the distinctiveness of the Jewish People—we can be anywhere in the world, but our wish is to be together in Eretz Yisrael. May you, Yitzy, be blessed to continue to grow in Torah and in chesed, and to unite our People!”
Yitzy, speaking in English and Hebrew, thanked Boys Town Jerusalem and his new friends there for the very special Bar Mitzvah experience. “We feel like family now,” he smiled.