By COLlive reporter
The Bas Mitzvah of Chaya Spalter, a vivacious Chabad girl who has inspired many in her Los Angeles community and beyond, was meant to be held this week.
Tragically, the 11-year-old passed away following a long and brave battle with a pediatric cancer, during which she lifted spirits of classmates and even strangers that came in contact with her.
Her family decided to nevertheless go ahead with a celebration and keep it positive and joyous, as befitting their daughter’s contagious personality.
And so, hundreds took to the streets this past Sunday to sing and dance in honor of Chaya Spalter’s Bas Mitzvah. The occasion was a new Torah scroll being completed in her home, dubbed Chaya’s Torah.
Prominent rabbis, friends and fellow community members were on-hand for the writing of the final letters in the scroll. Notably present was a delegation from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), led by Deputy Chief Michael Downing, Commanding Officer of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau (CTSOB).
The young Spalter has deeply moved LAPD officers when they treated her to join a ride-along in a police helicopter around the city. “I will never forget the smile on Chaya’s face or the tears in the eyes of the pilot and the Tactical Flight Officer,” LAPD chaplain Shmueli Newman commented.
With the pilot and his wife present, Deputy Chief Downing expressed heartfelt and poignant words at the conclusion of the Torah writing, thanking the Chabad family for allowing the LAPD to be a part of Chaya’s life and of the honor of being a part of the Torah celebration.
From their home, a traditional procession began with men, women, children and some 100 bochurim accompanying the Torah, with music played by the 8th Day Band comprised of Shmuley Marcus and Bentzi Marcus. An LAPD helicopter circled the procession.
With many bystanders watching and even joining, the procession crossed Melrose Avenue to Waring Avenue, to Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, the rabbinical institute headed by Chaya’s grandfather Rabbi Ezra Schochet and directed by her father, Rabbi Mendy Spalter.
At the gates of the Yeshiva, Torah scrolls were taken out in a special sign of honor to the new scroll. “There was an unbelievable feeling as the hachnosas Torah was an obvious celebration for Chaya’s Bas Mitzvah,” her mother, Hadassah Spalter told COLlive.com.
With spirited Hakafos dancing following in the main ‘zal’ hall of the Yeshiva, special candy bags and balloons with Chaya’s name were given out and concession stands by Joey Brecher were serving over 1,200 treats to the children.
The evening continued with a beautiful intimate Mitzvah meal, entertained by music and dancing led by Yaakov Rosenblatt and Mendel Simon. Moving speeches were given by Chaya’s grandfather, father and uncle – Rabbi Yossi New, Head Shliach of Georgia.
The hall was decorated by party planner Simcha Siev (nee Peer) with the help of Chayale Mentz, Chani Mentz, and Sara Shatnani.
“It was the exact color theme that Chaya wanted for her Bas Mitzvah,” Hadassah Spalter commented.