A GROUNDBREAKING event, a bar mitzvah from Bowen, was held last week at the Chabad Centre for Jewish Life in Cairns.
A Jewish family from Bowen marked this major milestone in their life by joining the Cairns Jewish community for a celebration, in the presence of relatives and friends from throughout the North Queensland area.
“Getting my aliyah to the Torah allowed me to fill a void, and finally confirm my place in the Jewish community, thus being an event that will help shape the person I am as I grow as a Jewish man,” said Jazz, the bar mitzvah boy.
What was different about this event (besides distance travelled by participants) is that it afforded other members of the family (brother Luka, aged 16, and Oliver, 18) who never enjoyed this rite of passage when they were younger, to do so with their friends and family.
“The family made this special trip all the way from Bowen, an eight-hour drive each way for this event,” Rabbi Ari Rubin, director of Chabad of North Queensland explained.
“These are not young kids going through the motions because that’s what all their friends are doing and enjoying the party while not quite grasping the religious significance.
“These are young people who have decided to make a passionate statement about the centrality of their Jewish identity to their lives.”
Rabbi Rubin added, “By doing this publicly they affirm to their friends and the wider community that Judaism is something they feel strongly about and plan to make an important part of their future!”
While the program boasted all of the trappings of the conventional bar/bat mitzvah, refreshments, dancing, speeches and gifts for the guests of honour, it was all kept to the current social-distancing guidelines of the Queensland government.