Get some tissues ready, guys.
In what can possibly be described as one of the most uplifting stories this week —The New York Times has reported an unusual bar mitzvah…one that’s 100 years late! Yisrael Kristal might be 113 years old but that doesn’t mean he wanted to skip becoming a man in the Jewish faith. It just took him a little longer to get his party at last, but for pretty good reasons.
Born in Poland in 1903, he missed his bar mitzvah at 13 due to World War I breaking out. By age 16 he was an orphan. He had later established a business with his uncle selling sweets in a candy store, but lost everything during World War II, when he was forced to move into a ghetto with his family. His children both died in the horrible conditions, and Kristal’s wife died when the couple was sent to Auschwitz.
By some miracle, Yisrael survived and managed to move on from the horrible events of his youth. He remarried and had more children. According to his daughter, Shulamith Kristal Kuperstoch, Kristal remained a very religious man, and held onto one wish throughout his life:
After Guinness World Records declared Yisrael Kristal to be the oldest man in the world last March, it was really time to celebrate. Surrounded by two children, nine grandchildren, and 30 (!) great-grandchildren, Mr. Kristal at last got to experience the ritual he’d missed for so many years.
We’re not crying, you’re crying.