“The Torah is a tree of life for all who grasp it.” (Proverbs 3:18)

 

Coming of age….

Until not long ago, one could be imprisoned for simply wearing tefillin. Today, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the Former Soviet Union is an opportunity, not only for a budding youth to celebrate, but also for an entire family to rediscover its Jewish roots.

Thanks to the ever-growing network of Jewish day schools, Sunday schools and summer camps, thousands of children are demanding that they too share in the unique experience of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Because many families cannot afford the festivities one associates with the occasion, the Federation for Jewish Communities sponsors group banquets for as many as 50 children at a time. Each boy receives a set of tefillin and each girl a silver candlestick.

Throughout two thousand years of Diaspora, even during the Holocaust or the Communist regime, Jews have always found ways to maintain the spark of Jewish tradition. Today, the spark has become a flame; and these celebrations, which have become a regular feature of life throughout the FSU, ensure that the warmth will spread.