A 93-year-old Holocaust survivor is celebrating his bar mitzvah on 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht


(JTA) — A 93-year-old Holocaust survivor is holding a special bar mitzvah celebration in New Jersey on the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Fred Behrend is celebrating the 80th anniversary of his bar mitzvah this week at Congregation Beth El, a Conservative synagogue in the township of Vooorhees, CBS 3 Philly reported. He had a party on Wednesday and will have a ceremony in the synagogue on Saturday, which is also the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom that marked a major escalation of the Nazi war against the Jews.

“It’s incredible,” Behrend said of the celebrations.

Behrend had his original bar mitzvah ceremony 80 years ago in Cuba, where his family had fled from Germany before settling in the United States.

At the synagogue ceremony on Saturday, Behrend will recite a blessing over a 200-year-old Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust. He will use a yad, a pointer used to follow along with the text, that his father rescued from a concentration camp, CBS reported.

“I had the feeling as if my father was looking down and saying to me, ‘It’s well done, I’m proud of you,’” Behrend said.


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