What a Bar Mitzvah!
250 family and close friends joined Rabbi Yitzy Hurwitz, his wife Dina and seven children for the Bar Mitzvah of their son Mendel.
Taking place at the beautiful and scenic Lorimar Vineyards and Winery in Temecula, California the event inspired every single participant. Overlooking vineyards and mountains, and with the scent of nature in the air, the location set the tone for the moving occasion for a very special family.
A little over a year ago, Mendel Hurwitz’s father Yitzy – the Shliach to Temecula, California – was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This horrific disease – one of the cruelest known to mankind – deprives a person from his ability to speak or move. Tragically, Rabbi Yitzy is no longer able to speak and his ability to move is severely restricted. Nevertheless, his optimism and love for life is very much evident through his infectious smile and twinkling eyes. He radiates hope and true bitachon in the face of such overwhelming challenge.
At the Bar Mitzvah, many family members spoke and inspired participants to do a mitzvah in honor of Yitzy’s complete recovery. Attending were many of Mendel’s family members including his grandparents Hurwitz and Berkowitz, and even his great-grandmother Hadassah Carlebach (daughter of Rabbi Zalman Schneerson) made a point to travel from New York to attend the simcha.
In her speech, Dina Hurwitz thanked everyone for their support, and spoke of the importance of their Shlichus. She then gave out Israeli army yarmulkas that someone gave her, on the condition that whoever takes one add a mitzvah in the merit of the three kidnapped boys in Israel to return safely.
Rabbi Sholom Katz, who is currently on Shlichus in Temecula working for the Hurwitzes, read the Rebbe’s letter to Bar Mitzvah boys and spoke of the extraordinary effect Rabbi and Mrs. Hurwitz have had on the community in Temecula.
While Yitzi Hurwitz could not make a speech himself, he wrote the following letter to his son, which he asked his older son Moshe to read:
We sit here surrounded by vineyards. In Hebrew “kerem.” In Isaiah the Jews are compared to a Vineyard. In the Vineyard there are vines, on the vine there are leaves and clusters. The vine holds the leaves and clusters. The leaves protect the grapes. The cluster holds the grape. The most valued part, is the grape of the vine עינבי הגפן.
That is who you are.
The עונבי הגפן . The cream of the crop. You come from a great family. Your lineage is from greats. King David, Samuel the Prophet. The holy Shaloh. You are from the Chabad Rebbes, From the Schneerson dynasty, the Carlebach dynasty. Your great grandparents carried the flag of Judaism through the difficulties of World War Two, rebuilt families of Rabbis to continue.
You yourself are top of your class. So capable. We all heard you read the Torah and Haftora, not like a bar mitzvah boy, but like a pro. But I know you – this is just the tip of the iceberg. You are far more capable. Your mother and I are so proud of you and we expect great things.
With all this in mind, your effort is what ultimately defines you. You have it all laid out in front of you, all you need to do is take it. Make us proud.
The event was arranged and sponsored by a group of five individuals who have taken upon themselves to cover all of the Hurwitz Family expenses during this trying period in their lives: Rabbis Shmuel Fogelman, Simcha Backman, Yossi Baitelman, Shlomo Bistritsky and Reuven Mintz.
To contribute to this special cause please go to: www.hurwitzfamilyfund.com