Holocaust survivor to celebrate bar mitzvah at 112 years old
Israel Kristal will celebrate becoming a man at the age of 113.
(SHULA KOPERSHTOUK/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 2:25 PM
After 100 years of waiting, the oldest man alive is finally getting the celebration he deserves.
Israel Kristal, a 112-year-old Holocaust survivor didn’t get to celebrate becoming a man according to Jewish tradition. When he turned 13 — the typical time to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah, a coming of age ceremony — it was 1916, and World War I was unfolding around him.
“His father was in the Russian army, his mother had died three years before,” Kristal’s daughter Schulamit Kristal Kuerstoch told the Local Germany. “No one was celebrating in this moment.”
And about 30 years later, still having never recognized the milestone, Kristal was deported to Auschwitz as World War II invaded his Polish homeland.
The face that the ceremony is a bit late won't stop them from honoring Kristal.
He lost both his wife and their two children to the Holocaust, but he was freed when American soldiers liberated his concentration camp.
Kristal, who also holds the Guinness world record for being the oldest man alive, will celebrate his 113th birthday on Thursday, and his family is using the occasion to celebrate his century-long overdue bar mitzvah.
“We’re going to celebrate with many family members ...” his daughter told the news outlet. “We will bless him, we will dance with him, we’ll be happy with him ... but you can’t feel like you’re 13 when you’re 113.”
Bar Mitzvahs are celebrated when a young boy turns 13 years old.
Kristal when he nabbed the title from Guinness World Records in March admitted he didn’t know the secret to a long life, but promised he would continue to march forward.
“There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men than me who are no longer alive,” he said. “All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”