A Special Bar Mitzvah in Odessa

JUNE 4TH 2024

The Mispacha Orphanage in Odessa recently celebrated a very special bar mitzvah for a young man they have cared for since he was 6 years old. Originally from Kazakhstan, he was brought by Rabbi and Mrs. Elchanan Cohen to Odessa, to be looked after by Rabbi Avraham Wolff and his wife Chaya.

Rabbi Wolff’s son Mendy and daughter-in-law Mushka, spent countless hours planning for the event and ensuring no detail was left unattended, including customized birthday labels with the boy’s picture affixed to the soft drink bottles. Rabbi Cohen traveled from Kazakhstan to participate in the joyous event, and the young man did not disappoint:

“We saw the Bar Mitzvah boy sitting in the front row of the synagogue, fluently and clearly reciting the service, with the entire crowd listening respectfully in admiration,” commented Rabbi Cohen.

The past couple of years have not been easy for the young man, as he prepared for this important milestone in his life. In February 2022, along with the other residents of the orphanage, he boarded a bus and traveled to Berlin where he remained for nearly a year. He and the other children returned to Odessa when the situation there stabilized, but air raid sirens and sprints to the shelter remain a part of daily life even today.

The bar mitzvah celebration was moving and uplifting for all participants. The meaningful event was a reminder of the commitment by the Wolff family and other members of the Odessa Jewish community to protect, support, and encourage the next generation:

“This special celebration is another step in the development of Jewish life in Odessa, a city that has endured many missiles and shelling for over two years,” concluded Mr. Igor Shtehin, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Southern Ukraine.

Jewish Relief Network Ukraine is proud to support the Mishpacha Orphanage.

Together, we Save Lives and Restore Hope!

Shlomo Peles
Executive Director
Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki
Dnipro, Ukraine
Rabbi Pinchas Vishedsky
Kyiv, Ukraine
Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm
Zhitomir, Ukraine
Rabbi Avraham Wolff
Odessa, Ukraine