Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

Emunah Bar / Bat Mitzvah Programme

Mazal Tov! Are you looking for a different way to mark your Bar or Bat Mitzvah Celebration?

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are special and joyous occasions for both children and families.  The excitement of anticipation, preparing for the celebration, the ceremony and party all leave lasting memories that endure for a lifetime.   Sadly many children in Israel, from dysfunctional or abusive homes, simply do not have the chance to enjoy their special day in a way that we all take for granted.

Emunah’s Bar  / Bat Mitzvah Programme offers a wonderful chance to enhance and enrich your special Simcha, while at the same time, helping a young person living at The Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula to experience the joy of their own celebration.

The Emunah residential Sarah Herzog Children’s Centre in Afula, northern Israel, is home to over ninety children who are unable to live with their families with a further 100 children who attend a daily programme.   Every year as part of the Bar / Bat Programme, the staff in Afula, hold a grand Bat/Bar Mitzvah Ceremony each year for the girls and boys in our care who have become 12 or 13 in the year.  This is a very special occasion for the children and preparations for the day go on for several months beforehand.

You can help a child celebrate this special milestone in their lives and give them a day to remember.  Combine your Simcha with theirs and make a real difference to a child’s life.  There are many different ways to get involved:

  • Make a donation to mark your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  All donations are gratefully received and are used to ensure that all the Afula children are able to celebrate appropriately.  The boys are all bought tefillin and the girls, candlesticks and every child has a new outfit for the ceremony.  Following the ceremony, which all the children have worked hard to take part in, there is a large celebratory party.   Transport is provided so that members of the children’s family are able to be present for this special day.
  • Some Bar and Bat Mitzvah children take on a sponsored event to raise tzedakah as part of their celebration and donate the money raised to Emunah.  Children have taken part in sponsored cake bakes, sponsored silences, sponsored runs, walks and swims as well as organising film shows and quiz evenings!
  • Many children receive duplicate gifts for their Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah.  Why not send some of your surplus gifts to the children at Afula who are not so fortunate?
  • Your child may like to ‘twin’ with a child from our Afula centre and begin a relationship via email or letter.  You will receive a personalised profile of your ‘twin’ including a photograph and birthday details. Some twins will become firm friends but you must always remember that the child you are writing to in Israel may not be able to understand English and may have emotional problems that make frequent communication difficult or even impossible.
  • If you are in Israel you can arrange to visit your ‘twin’ and see the centre at Afula.  Sometimes children from Afula are even invited to join the celebrations of their English twins, in Israel or in the UK.

Liora Resnick 12 lives in Edgware and is a pupil at Hasmonean Girls’ School twinned her Bat Mitzvah with Elisheva. “We went to Israel and my Dad took us to the Emunah Children’s Centre in Afula, where I was introduced to Elisheva.  She was originally from Toronto so her English was really good.  We hit it off right away, we had lots in common. We both like sport and animals and we both have younger brothers. 

Elisheva’s had quite a hard life.  Her mum’s had a lot of illnesses and Elisheva and five of her brothers and sisters live in the Emunah Home because her parents aren’t able to have them at home.  She’s very positive about it though.  We talk all the time on Skype and we email too.  I’m really happy to have Elisheva as my friend.”

Melisa Resnick is Liora’s mum “It was my husband’s idea to visit Afula with our children.  We were in Israel on holiday and he wanted them to see a different side of Israeli life.  We were so impressed by Shlomo and Rachel (Kessel) who run the home.  They live there, with their children and they work 24/7.  There are 80 children living there and another 100 who come early in the morning, before school and only return to their own homes to sleep.  Despite the difficulties that these children face, Shlomo and his team ensure that there is a wonderful, happy atmosphere. 

Elisheva and Liora hit it off right away.  Elisheva is a really lovely girl and we all enjoy spending time with her.  We try and help as much as we can, with her education, for example, because that’s been disrupted in the past.  No one can wave a magic wand and take away all the problems of the children in the Afula Home, but there’s a lot that can be done to help if you make a connection.  We didn’t realise when we first decided to get involved how much we, as a family, would gain from the experience.”