Bar Mitzvah at Chabad 'Gan Izzy' Summer Camp

Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 - 6:05 pm

Chabad2.jpgA Lubavitch connection lasting over 35 years led to an emotional Bar Mitzvah at Chabad of Ilford's Gan Israel Summer Camp.

Drew Thompson celebrated his Bar-Mitzvah at a weekday ceremony which was incorporated into the camp day at Chabad Gan Izzy Ilford Summer Scheme in an emotional and moving service followed by dancing with all the campers.

, Drew’s mother was a student at the Lubavitch Girls High School in London 35 years ago and throughout the time since then has stayed in touch with Rabbi Shmuel Lew, who was proud to be able to participate in the Bar-Mitzvah.Chabad4.jpg

“Over the years I’ve been through many challenges and Rabbi Lew was always there for me, to help, support and guide me,” she said. “Being able to have Rabbi Lew participate in my son’s Bar-Mitzvah has been amazing.”

Drew’s non-Jewish father was in attendance with some of his family all of whom enjoyed the experience and were delighted to participate and be made to feel so welcome.

A couple of years ago Rabbi Lew asked Rabbi Odom Brandman of Chabad of Buckhurst Hill to go and visit Drew and Delilah, to bring them candles for Chanukah, to speak about Drew attending a Jewish school and to start thinking about a Bar-Mitzvah. Drew started to attend King Solomon High School and Rabbis Lew and Brandman arranged private lessons for Drew to begin from scratch learning to read Hebrew and studying Judaism.

Chabad1.jpgRev Johnny Lorraine was commissioned for the job, and at the Bar-Mitzvah Drew leined all three parts of the Thursday morning Torah reading extremely fluently and with great confidence. At the service, conducted by Rabbi Brandman, tribute was paid to Rev Lorraine for doing such an amazing job, and to Drew for the huge amount of effort that he put into his preparation.

A new pair of Tefilin was bought for Drew by the Rabbis and the Camp staff prepared a wonderful breakfast for the family to enjoy after the Shul service.
Camp staff created a Mechitza in the dinning room and to the surprise of all the family, when they walked in for breakfast, the whole camp was there to greet them and they all joined in singing and dancing.Chabad3.jpg

One of the Camp parents, Michaela Harding, a photographer from The Photo People was on hand to take pictures and something special was in the air as the Bar-Mitzvah took place.

At the breakfast, Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE from Chabad of Ilford spoke together with Rabbi Lew who both expressed the great significance of the occasion.

Story from COL Live
Pictures by Michaela Harding (The Photo People)


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