The bar mitzvah of A. was supposed to be a joyous occasion. However, A.’s teacher instructed his peers to boycott the event.
A. ready for his bar mitzvah Photo Credit: Courtesy of the family/Channel 2 News
It was supposed to be the happiest day so far in A.’s life- his bar mitzvah. Everything was ready- his clothes had been ironed, the food was on the tables in the venue and the excitement for his family was growing with every second that passed. However, when the celebratory moment finally arrived, a wave of sadness struck: almost none of A.’s friends came to celebrate his bar mitzvah because of a dispute between his parents and his teacher.
The teacher, one of the teaching rabbis at a school in central Israel, instructed his students not to attend A.’s bar mitzvah and even warned that he would know who followed his instructions and who did not. It appears that the teacher gave these unusual instructions because the boy’s father found out that he slapped his son last year and complained to the principal about him.
“I wanted that the rabbi who slapped [my son] would not teach anymore in the school,” A.’s father told Channel 2 Online. “He embarrassed my son and slapped him. I wasn’t going to let this pass quietly.”
According to the boy’s father, after he complained, the teachers at the school and the principal started to treat his son different. The father said that they would harass his son for no reason. “They just didn’t want my son to be in their school and did everything in order to remove him,” the father explained. “My son is intelligent with good grades and a happy outlook on life.”
The bar mitzvah took place at the end of the first week of this school year. A. heard from some of his school friends in the days before the event that no one was planning on attending his celebration and why. After hearing this, A.’s father went to the school in order to speak with the principal. During the conversation, the principal said that if the father signs an agreement promising that he will take his son out of the school, he will make sure that all the children attend the bar mitzvah.
The conversation took place just an hour before the bar mitzvah. A.’s father realized that he really did not have any choice because he did not want his son to have a bad bar mitzvah experience and thus agreed to sign the agreement once it was reviewed by his lawyer. “I couldn’t see my son sad like that,” he said. “I needed to do something.”
Nevertheless, his verbal commitment to sign the agreement was not enough for the principal. Only two of A.’s friends, who are children of the parents’ friends, attended his bar mitzvah. The rest of the chairs at the table for A.’s peers were empty. In response, the principal stated. “I said that I would deal with it if he [the father] does what I asked- but that didn’t happen.”