Haifa: Yisrael Kristal celebrates Bar Mitzvah after 100-year delay

After surviving World War I and Auschwitz, Yisrael Kristal, who was declared the oldest man in the world half a year ago, will perform one of the most ancient Jewish rituals today and celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 113.
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Half a year ago, the Guinness Book of World Records declared that Haifa resident Yisrael Kristal is the oldest man in the world. Today (Thursday), at the age of 113, Kristal decided to finally mark his coming of age and celebrate his Bar Mitzvah after a 100-year delay.

Around a hundred relatives are expected to make it to Israel in order to take part in the special event. “We will congratulate him, dance with him and be happy together,” his daughter Shula Kristal explained excitedly.

Yisrael was supposed to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in 1916 but this was rendered impossible when the battles of World War I reached his doorstep in Poland. Two decades later, while he was running his family’s candy shop in Lodz, the Nazis raided the city and Yisrael and his family were sent to the Lodz Ghetto.

Both of his children died in the ghetto and he later lost his wife in the gas chambers in Auschwitz, but Yisrael didn’t give up and was saved thanks to his expertise in manufacturing candy, which the Germans loved. He later remarried, immigrated to Israel and today he lives in Haifa.

When he was crowned as the oldest man in the world, Yisrael told his family that what moved him most of all was that he was the oldest man to wear tefillin. Today he will get to wear his tefillin for a special occasion, as a part of which he will also become the oldest man in the world to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah.

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