Yad L'Achim activists were overcome with joy this week as they celebrated the Bar Mitzva of a youth rescued from an arab village by the organization approximately six months ago.
Yad L'Achim head Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipschitz sat at the center of the simcha, together with the happy chassan hasimcha, who expressed his joy at taking upon himself the Torah and Mitzvos. Earlier, the youth had an aliya at a special davening that took place at the Kosel.
Wearing Tefillin acquired for him by Yad L'achim and accompanied by long time Yad L'Achim activist Rabbi Ephraim Groundland, the young man proudly made his way to the sefer Torah and the brachos out loud thanking Hashem for choosing him, along with all other Jews, to accept and keep the mitzvos.
In the midst of the celebration, the bar mitzvah boy rose to make a spontaneous and unrehearsed speech, "I have been reborn", he told the rapt crowd, "from the moment Yad L'Achim came into my room and spirited me away in a special operation. You rescued me from long years of suffering and sadness that that I cannot even begin to describe." He said.
"I will never forget that night, when my mother whispered to me "tonight, some people will come to rescue you". She instructed me to go to bed us usual but to remain ready". That night, both mother and son were rescued from the Arab village where they had been held for years.
But Yad L'Achim did not just take the two away from their old lifestyle – it helped them build a new one. Through social and financial support, a daily learning chavrusa for the boy, enrolling him in a yeshiva in the coming zeman, and securing a job for his mother, Yad L'Achim saw the fruits of its labor pay off at the heart warming bar mitzvah celebration.
"This celebration is the living embodiment of the passuk 'and Hashem will leave none behind," said Rabbi Lipschitz. "we must never give up on any Jew, and it is our responsibility to do all we can to return each and every one to their roots, no matter how far they have strayed," he said.