Soon to be 13-year-old Joshua was able to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with the help of a group of retirees. Residing at Children’s Village, a juvenile justice facility in Dobbs Ferry, the young boy, whose full name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, has faced countless hardships most people never will encounter. Living a trying life, completely isolated from family and friends, he never imagined having any celebration in his honor, let alone a Bar Mitzvah.
Amidst preparations for a weekly Torah discussion group for retirees held at the Highpoint Condos in Hartsdale, Rabbi Benjy Silverman of Chabad of the Rivertowns, received a call from Joshua’s grandmother, Sandra. She enlisted his help in arranging a Bar Mitzvah for her grandson and gladly agreeing, Rabbi Silverman eagerly began preparations. Later that day at a discussion group, known as “The Shmooze,” the Rabbi passingly mentioned Joshua’s difficult situation and plans for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah to some of the attendees. Stepping up, the class of some 30 seniors, all of whom never met Joshua or his family, offered to sponsor his Bar Mitzvah and help turn a dream into a reality.
On Thursday, June 7, Joshua, joined by “The Shmooze” discussion group, as well as students his age from a local Jewish day-school, donned tefillin, a sacred pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls, and was called up to the Torah at his very own Bar Mitzvah celebration held at Chabad of the Rivertowns, 303 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry.
Rabbi Silverman said, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught us that when two Jews meet, they should make something good happen for a third person. This is the perfect example.”