After a delay of 69 years, 82-year-old Yaakov Edelstein, a Holocaust survivor from Romania, celebrated his bar mitzvah and donned tefillin for the first time in his life at Haifa’s Warm Home Club of the Yad Ezer Le’chaver organization. Present at the simcha were his wife Sima, one of his two sons, and many Holocaust survivors helped by the organization. The driving force behind the initiative was Omri Rivin, head of an advanced detective course, who brought twenty-eight students along with him.
“At the age when I was supposed to celebrate a bar mitzvah I learned nothing and knew nothing,” Edelstein said. “The only thing I learned was to steal and to lie in order to survive.”
“I am so happy,” he exulted. “For me this is a day of true victory.”