Saturday, September 17, 2016
TODAY I AM A MAN!
He wasn't able to celebrate the religious coming-of-age ceremony Jewish boys go through at age 13 because his mother had died and his father had been drafted into the Russian army.
Now, 100 years later, Yisrael Kristal will finally have his bar mitzvah.
He just turned 113 years old, and was recently named as the world's oldest man.
Apparently that tag must be changed to “oldest living person,” at least until later this month.
Kristal was born in 1903 in Poland and survived both World Wars and lived through the Holocaust, his family told BBC News. He and his family were sent to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz where his wife was murdered. His two children also died in the Holocaust.
Kristal emigrated to Israel in 1950 with his second wife and their son.
The bar mitzvah is set for later September with a ceremony in Haifa, Israel where he will be surrounded with family in friends.
The date coincides with his birthday according to the Hebrew date.
His daughter, Shulamit Kuperstoch, told the BBC that his bar mitzvah will be a "corrective experience".
Kuperstoch says her father would perform the traditional bar mitzvah rituals, including putting on phylacteries (small boxes containing biblical verses worn on the head and arm) and saying blessings over the Torah (Jewish holy book).
"We are excited, we're happy, it is a great honour to celebrate his bar mitzvah. He has children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and cousins and everyone is coming," Kuperstoch said.
And finally, in the eyes of his faith, he will be able to call himself a man!