May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Reconnecting to Our Heritage With Chabad of WO

(l-r) Rabbi Kasowitz, Oleg, Vladimir and Anna.

(Courtesy of Chabad of West Orange) This past week, Vladimir Bliakhman, whose Jewish name is Velvel, celebrated his bar mitzvah at the remarkable age of 88 with Chabad of West Orange’s Rabbi Mendy & Altie Kasowitz.

Born in 1935, Vladimir lived in Russia for 76 years before immigrating to the USA with his wife Anna, 12 years ago, to be close to their son Oleg and his family. Despite not having had a bar mitzvah at the age of 13, Vladimir had a deep desire to explore his Jewish heritage. Due to his health, Vladimir was unable to attend Chabad synagogue, so the celebration was brought to his home. Anna’s face was shining with such joy as her husband put on the tallit and tefillin—such Yiddishe nachas, Jewish pride.

Channa with her Shabbat candles.

Together, Vladimir and Rabbi Kasowitz recited the Shema prayer, which was a powerful and emotional moment. They also fulfilled the mitzvah of giving tzedaka, and put coins into a charity box. The celebration continued with a toast and heartfelt l’chaims, blessings to the wonderful couple and the singing of “siman tov u’mazal tov”!

Vladimir isn’t the only family member reconnecting to Judaism. Anna, whose Jewish name is Chana, also 88 years old, has taken upon herself to light Shabbat candles every Friday and pray daily from the Hebrew Russian siddur gifted by the Chabad of WO. Oleg too had his bar mitzvah last year at the age of 52.

Rabbi Kasowitz wrapping tefillin on Velvel.

This bar mitzvah at the age of 88 serves as a powerful reminder that it is never too late to embrace our heritage and traditions. Velvel and Chana’s story teaches us to seize the mitzvah opportunities that come our way, regardless of age or circumstance.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles