Three young men celebrated their Bar Mitzvah in one night at Camp Gan Israel in Running Springs, California this week.
Coordination for the momentous event began weeks ago when a staff member approached an older camper and asked him if he wanted An Aliyah to the Torah. The camper responded, “An Aliyah? What’s that?”
The camper then proceeded to tell his counselor that considering that his family’s observance level was virtually non-existent, an Aliyah on his Bar Mitzvah was about as far off as his Dad handing him the keys to a brand new Mustang. Upon hearing this, his counselor, under the leadership of Camp Director Rabbi Hertzy Richler, put together a memorable Jewish experience that will last a lifetime.
Extensive research proved that there were an additional two campers over the age of thirteen that never received a proper Bar Mitzvah. It was therefore decided that a communal celebration would be held to honor the three young Men’s commitment to Torah and Mitzvahs.
Each camper had the opportunity to invite as many guests as he wanted, so many families and friends attended. The event boasted catered food presented beautifully in the camp’s multi-purpose room. Joyous song and dance played long into the night. It was especially moving when parents and fellow campers expressed their feelings of joy and pride for the Bar Mitzvah boys.
The highlight of the night came amidst wild dancing when Mr. Amiri, father of Bar Mitzvah boy Joey, bashfully approached one of the staff members and expressed his interest in becoming the second Amiri to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on that day. He explained that unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, and felt that it would be most appropriate a time to have it together with his son on his special day. The counselor reassured him that it was absolutely acceptable and before he could blink his eye he was lifted up on a chair, and father and son together danced the night away in celebration of their big day.
This special Bar mitzvah celebration will always be remembered as a wonderful expression of Jewish pride and unity, which made a lasting impact on all of the participants. The event exemplified the mission of the summer camp, which is to provide a wholesome Jewish experience for Jews of all backgrounds, denominations, and upbringings.