The Yad Vashem Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Project
Celebrating a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a fundamental milestone in the Jewishlife cycle, binding the child to not only remembering his/her past and roots, but also to his/her commitment to shaping the future. It is the hope of every parent that their Bar/Bat Mitzvah child will develop into an adult filled with a sense of his/her heritage and enlightened to his/her burgeoning responsibility to the wider community. Yad Vashem’s Twinning Program, implemented in Jerusalem or Canada, has heightened the meaning and memory of one’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah since 1985.
It is a dream for many to celebrate his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the eternal capital of the Jewish People – Jerusalem. Holding this celebration at Yad Vashem becomes a very real celebration of life and Jewish continuity.
The central feature of the Twinning Program involves matching a child of Bar/Bat Mitzvah age with a child who perished in the Holocaust, forging an unforgettable bond between two identities and creating a bridge between the present and the past. A “Page of Testimony,” documenting the life of a Holocaust victim, links the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child with a Holocaust victim by either matching names, birthday, and/or country of origin. Alternatively, the child Holocaust victim may be one that is a blood relation to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child.
In addition, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Yad Vashem Jerusalem offers the celebrant with a singular opportunity to read from a Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust in the Yad Vashem synagogue. Ritual artifacts rescued from destroyed synagogues adorn the synagogue in commemoration of the glorious past of European Jewry. These include three Torah Arks from Romania (one of the Arks was discovered being used as a clothes closet in a local Romanian’s home); a façade for the main Torah Ark from Barland, Romania; and a parochet (Torah Ark curtain) from Cluj, Romania. The Yad Vashem Synagogue also has stained-glass from Czechoslovakia from what was once the Dobrish synagogue, but is now a municipality building; a Torah Scroll that Survivors brought wrapped in a coat after the war; a wall lamp from Przeworsk in Poland—where the Jewish community and its synagogues were completely annihilated; and various synagogue ornaments that were found in non-Jewish homes.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration at Yad Vashem Jerusalem may also include a 2–2.5 hour guided tour of the Yad Vashem Museum for persons aged 10 and above; Jewish music and singing; a Chazzan (Cantor) to bless the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child and recite the memorial prayer for those who perished in the Holocaust; and light refreshments or a meal (buffet or sit down). The ceremony concludes with a Yad Vashem representative presenting a special certificate of recognition to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child.
Booking the Yad Vashem Synagogue for a 30 minute ceremony is free of charge. However, a guided tour for up to 25 persons is $120.00 for the guide and another $3.00 per person for headphones. The cost for live music and/or a cantor is based on each individual ceremony; the cost for refreshments is based on the particular menu chosen, but is typically anywhere from $15.00–$40.00/person.
For more information, please contact
The Twinning Program in Canada
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Twinning Program provides a Bar/Bat Mitzvah child with a unique opportunity to mark the occasion of his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Canada. The Society provides the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child with a Page of Testimony of a child Holocaust victim and presents the Bar/Bat Mitzvah with a certificate signed by the National Chair and the Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem invites its friends to support the Yad Vashem Twinning Program with a donation. A gift to Yad Vashem in honour of this milestone is a lasting and meaningful way to celebrate a special occasion. Donations can be designated for general support or to specific programs and giving opportunities.
For more information, please contact:
Ester Driham, Executive Director
The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem
265 Rimrock Road, Suite 218
Tel: 416 785.1333