Yisrael Kristal, like many a bar mitzvah boy before him, celebrated the event last weekend, reading the Torah and enjoying the company of his family, who danced, sang and threw candies.
But Mr. Kristal was surrounded at the ceremony in southern Israel by his two surviving children, nine grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. He is 113, and he had to wait a century to mark the occasion.
“My father is a religious man, and it was his dream his whole life to have a bar mitzvah,” his daughter Shulamith Kristal Kuperstoch said by telephone from her home in Haifa, Israel. “It was a miracle after everything that he has been through in his life. What else can you call it?”
When Allied troops liberated Auschwitz in 1945, she said, Mr. Kristal weighed 82 pounds. He was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.
His family says Mr. Kristal is a simple man who has prayed every day of his life. More:
Mr. Kristal’s granddaughter Liat Bashan, a 32-year-old social worker, said that seeing her grandfather at his bar mitzvah ceremony, in a room spilling over with relatives and loved ones, had left her overcome with joy — and mindful of all those who perished in the Holocaust.
“All those people from one person,” she said. “Imagine how many rooms could be filled if six million had lived.”
She added: “Every time I see my grandfather, I want to make a blessing.”
Read the whole thing. It is a blessing to humankind. The darkness did not overcome this man’s light, nor steal God from his heart.