Participants of the programs this year included those whom prevented their families from organizing proper Bar Mitzvahs whether for economic, health or other reasons. Expertise in working with these precious children comes from the good offices of Chesed Menachem Mendel, Colel Chabad’s Orphan Early Intervention Program, whose staff works year-round providing academic and emotional support to orphaned boys and girls. Shluchim and activity leaders volunteered to give the kids lessons, which turned into meaningful relationships not just with the Bar Mitzvah boys but with the entire family.
The central celebration takes place every year close to the Eleventh of Nissan, to honor and mark the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s birthday. However, international Colel Chabad director Rabbi Sholom Duchman chose to make a one-time change this year to allow a personal connection with each child involved, as well as the presenting the extensive assistance to each family to properly prepare for the simchah, which will mark the completion of 107 years since the birth of the Rebbe, this generation’s leader—something that has found expression in the number of Bar Mitzvahs that joined the project.
The grand party will take place on the seventh of Tammuz, close to the 15th yahrzeit of the Rebbe. Organizers are sure that it will be a crowning achievement among this year’s Hakhel gatherings, a dignified and regal event centered around the Bar Mitzvah boys and their families.
The boys will first approach the Western Wall, where they and their families will be greeted by the Chief Rabbis of Israel as well as the Rabbi of the Wall and Jerusalem’s holy places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. A contingent of older boys, together with Bar Mitzvah counselors from the Western Wall Tradition Foundation will help them put on their new tefillin presented to them by Colel Chabad, followed by a joyous aliyah to the Torah for each Bar Mitzvah boy and his family surrounded by Chasidic joy.
Finally, the crowd will head over to Jerusalem’s Binyanei HaUmah center for a full day of celebration including a special program with distinguished guest and public figures. The exciting event is sure to be big—all dedicated in the Rebbe’s honor and the happiness of the children, their mothers and their families.