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Emphasizing the 'Mitzvah' in Bar Mitzvah.


A British family arrived in Israel over the weekend accompanied by the 160 = guests to their son's bar mitzvah to celebrate the rite of passage in an un= usual, yet commendable manner. Once the party cleared customs at Ben-Gurion= airport, they headed to a soup kitchen in Jerusalem where they went into t= he kitchen, pulled up their sleeves and got to work serving the needy warm = meals.

The altruistic gesture was initiated by the bar mitzvah boy himself, 13-yea= r-old James Newman from London, with the help of his parents, Neville and M= ichelle.

James' family has been quite involved with pro-Israel activism for some tim= e. Since he was a small child, James has traveled around England with his f= ather who raises money for the Jewish National Fund in the UK. Unsurprisin= gly, some of his parents' activism rubbed off on James and, as preparations= for his bar mitzvah neared, he asked his parents to organize a massive pil= grimage to Israel to give a hand to those in need to mark the event. "I wan= ted to actually help others for my bar mitzvah," James said. "We decided th= at we would contribute to a soup kitchen for the needy."

Last Friday morning, the bar mitzvah group arrived in Israel and the delega= tion headed to a Jerusalem soup kitchen which primarily offers assistance t= o Holocaust survivors. Everyone went into the kitchen, pulled up their slee= ves and started peeling potatoes and cutting vegetables. After cooking a bi= g meal for the soup kitchen's regulars, they prepared 500 care packages whi= ch were distributed to the disadvantaged.

The family then hosted a festive dinner for the bar mitzvah guests at the K= ing David Hotel in Jerusalem. The good deeds continued there as well, as th= e family invited two needy children who were also celebrating their bar mit= zvah - as well as their friends and family - to join in on the celebration.= "We did this with a warm heart in order to help those who don't have a way= of getting by. It's a big mitzvah. James is lucky and has a good life. We = wanted him to be exposed to the lives of others that struggle with hardship= s so that he could help them," Neville said.

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Date:Dec 24, 2007
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