The Bar Mitzvah boy, a survivor of the Arab village, in an emotional prayer at the Kosel.
The Bar Mitzvah boy who stepped up to the Torah at the Kosel last week in a moving ceremony was living as a Muslim until just a few months ago.
The boy's mother moved to an Arab village two decades ago, after converting to Islam. He abusive husband forbade her from contacting any of the other women in the village, or even from stepping foot outside her home. A short while ago, she found the courage to contact Yad L'Achim and begged to be rescued.
In a complex operation, whose details can't yet be publicized, Yad L'Achim rescued the woman and her three children and brought them to a safe house in Israel that it had equipped with everything they needed to live. With the help of Yad L'Achim's legal staff, she filed a complaint with the police against her violent husband and petitioned the rabbinical court to overturn her conversion to Islam.
Thanks to these efforts, she received exclusive custody of the children.
Yad L'Achim assigned a social worker to the family, who formed a tight bond with the mother. At the same time, mentors were provided for the children to help them take their first steps back toward Judaism.
The Bar Mitzvah last week was a milestone for the family.
On the way to the Kosel, the social worker asked the mother if, a year ago, she would have believed that her son would be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah.
"I would have asked you, 'What's a Bar Mitzvah?' When I grew up my father forbade my mother from talking to us about these things and I didn't even know I was a Jew."
The Bar Mitzvah boy with Yad L'Achim activist Rabbi Moshe Cohen.