Four orphans from the Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr were taken to the Western Wall with live music and dancing on Monday to celebrate their bar mitvah.
The boys were accompanied by Chabad to the plaza in Jerusalem after the coming-of-age ceremony, which is usually held at the age of 13.
They prayed alongside their Israeli peers at the ancient wall and placed prayer notes into its cracks.
The site is Judaism’s holiest site.
“I feel great here,” said Tima Kobakov, 13, who is from an orphanage in the northwestern Ukrainian city of Zhytomyr.
“There are a lot of Jewish people, Jewish community, they are so helpful. I’m excited.
“I can’t express my feelings just with words because this is a huge celebration and I love this.”
Chabad organised the bar mitzvah for orphans the organisation cares for.
The Ukrainian boys are part of a larger group whose ages range between 2 to 12.
They arrived in Israel on March 3 from war-torn Ukraine after a journey through Romania.
The KKL-JNF (Jewish National Fund) has been taking care of their hosting and wellbeing in Israel.
Rabbi Shlomo Duchman, director of Coll Chabad, said it was “beyond special” to be part of the event.
He said: “Right now with the Ukrainian crisis, with the Ukrainian refugees, many of us who are parents of grandparents or are refugees themselves, when we hear the word ‘refugees’ we wake up, we jump up.
“To be able to welcome refugees and to be part of them and to lead them into your events and to your curriculum, that’s something that is truly beyond.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.