Yosef Kineshtlich, 85, of Haifa has been dreaming about completing his bar mitzvah ceremony for 72 years. Last week, he finally got to lay Tefillin and deliver his sermon in an excited voice.
"Just before the war, my parents brought over a rabbi who began teaching me the sermon," says Kineshtlich, who has two children and seven grandchildren. "And then the war broke out and we were taken to the ghetto. In 1943 the ghetto was destroyed, and I never saw my parents or my sister again."
On Thursday he and 20 other Holocaust survivors celebrated their bar-mitzvah ceremony and Torah reading, with the help of the Yad Ezer L'Haver association. Each of them received a praying shawl and Tefillin, and the ceremony was conducted by Haifa's Chief Rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen.
"It was very exciting," Kineshtlich concluded.
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